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Eco-Initiatives

The environment is the cornerstone upon which Sun Peaks exists.

The natural and wild beauty of the surrounding area is a constant reminder of its inherent fragility. As stewards of the land, it is everyone’s responsibility to understand the human impact to this area, and proactively take steps to ensure the survival of this habitat, so that it can be enjoyed for years to come.

The three universal guiding principles for environmental sustainability are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. These three actions are implemented throughout the resort in an effort to minimize the impact on the surrounding area.

As you read through the initiatives that are currently underway at Sun Peaks you will notice the three R’s symbol throughout, highlighting areas where Sun Peaks has been successful at employing one of the three R’s. By keeping these three practices top of mind it is hoped that a holistic approach to the resort’s environmental management can be achieved.

Eco-Initiatives Elements
Water has always been an important environmental focus in resort management.

Numerous policies have been instituted, followed, and upgraded to protect water resources, conserve water use, and ensure the quality of wastewater treatment. By any measures of water use, and water conservation practices Sun Peaks is undoubtedly the most water efficient community in British Columbia!

Water Conservation
Ultra Low Flush Toilets
Reduce In 1994 Sun Peaks Resort Corporation mandated the use of low flush (6L) toilets and fixtures throughout the entire resort area. In 2002, this mandate was updated to require the use of dual flush (3/6L) or single flush (4L) toilets in all new developments. These toilets have been widely used in Australia and Europe (but not North America) for over a decade, and Sun Peaks became the first community in North America to mandate their use. To back up the mandate, in the fall of 2002, all the toilets in Sun Peaks Resort Corporation owned buildings have been upgraded with dual flush toilets, and water free urinals. The resort’s utility company has also sponsored a toilet replacement program, and distributed low flow fixtures to all water customers. The water use in refitted facilities decreased by 30% to 60% compared to previous seasons.

  • In 1994, Sun Peaks Resort Corporation mandated the use of low flush (6L) toilets and fixtures throughout the entire resort area.
  • In 2002, the mandate was updated to require the use of dual flush (3/6L) or single flush (4L) toilets in all new developments. These toilets have been widely used in Australia and Europe (but not North America) for over a decade; Sun Peaks is the first community in North America to mandate their use. All toilets in Sun Peaks Resort Corporation owned buildings are upgraded with dual flush toilets and water free urinals.
  • The resort’s utility company also sponsored a toilet replacement program, and distributed low flow fixtures to all water customers.
  • Water use in refitted facilities decreased by 30% to 60% compared to previous seasons.
In-Resort Water Metering
Sun Peaks is one of the first communities in British Columbia to achieve universal water metering. All buildings in the resort are water metered and are charged for both water use and wastewater production. Water metering has also allowed the resort the ability to analyze consumption patterns for evidence of leakage, or excessive water use. A water conservation consultant is utilized to evaluate water use, and identify and implement ongoing conservation measures.
Reduce
McGillivray Creek Water Usage
The water utility company does not use any water from McGillivray Creek (this is the creek that runs through the Sun Peaks valley), so as not to reduce the amount of water available to downstream surface water users.
Sun Peaks Utility Corporation Ltd. Awards
  • Lowest water usage in Canada; 220 litre per person per day (Urban Systems)
  • Silver Eagle Award
Water Protection
Golf Course
Reduce/ReuseWater is sourced from drainage systems within the subdivisions around the resort, and stored in golf course ponds on the seventh, tenth, and thirteenth holes for later use as irrigation water. This initiative is undertaken to Provide settling areas for any silt generated from the development  which in turn protects the water quality in McGillivray Creek. When water supplies are less abundant, techniques such as spot watering, hand watering, syringing, and sacrificing low priority areas of the course are used.
Infrastructure
Recycle/ReuseA state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1999, and is being expanded as the resort grows. Design is underway on further enhancements to make the effluent quality suitable for use in snowmaking, and golf course irrigation. Currently, the plant’s effluent quality is consistently better than the permit requirements.
Water Quality Monitoring
An extensive monitoring program of effluent, groundwater, and creek water quality is in place.
Erosion Control: Water and Silt Management
Erosion is an intrinsic natural process, but in many places it is increased by human land use. Poor land use practices in our area can cause silt to enter the local mountain creeks. Improved land use practices used at the resort, such as water bars, and seeding of mixed grasses on all runs, decrease the effects of erosion. Erosion control is a significant aspect of Sun Peaks Resort’s ISO 14001 (Certification #026082) Environmental Management System.

Protecting the fragile soils and vegetation in the sub-alpine and alpine is critical to maintaining the local environment.

Sun Peaks Resort has instituted numerous construction and operational practices to minimize damage.

Recycle
Beetle Affected Logging
The resort has been selectively logging against pine beetle and other beetle affected timber proactively since 1995. Areas of beetle affected timber are considered when determining where to cut new ski runs, for example the Orient Ridge.

Currently there are three beetle species affecting the local forests. Please click on the following links to learn more:


For information on Sun Peaks Resort Beetle Management Program click here.
ReduceControlled On-Mountain Vehicle Traffic
Only resort vehicles are allowed on the mountain itself, and then only on designated trails. Recreational off-road vehicles are not permitted within the controlled recreation area.
Erosion Measures
Where ever possible bioengineering methods (willows, hay, and coco matting) are used in slope stabilization. Outside of the ski area, erosion and sediment control measures are mandatory on all construction sites. For more information on how willows are used to prevent erosion click here.
ReduceFertilizers, Pesticides and Soil Amendments
All fertilizer and pesticide usage falls under Integrated Pest Management (User License # 13702). Integrated Pest Management is a provincial program whose goal is to eliminate unnecessary pesticide use.

Although fertilizers, pesticides, and soil amendments are used on the Sun Peaks Resort Golf Course, a variety of techniques are used to minimize the impact on the eco-system.

  • Soil tests are conducted to pinpoint a precise fertility program thereby decreasing unnecessary use of pesticides and fertilizers.
  • No spray zones are established within 15 metres of riparian zones.
  • All fertilizers used on the golf course are an organic and synthetic combination to decrease the amount of synthetic products used.
  • When applying herbicides spot treatments are employed versus broad applications.
  • Grass clippings are mowed back into the turf as a way to decrease the amount of topical nitrogen used on the golf course.
  • Soil amendments are used to improve the soil’s physical properties such as water retention, permeability, water infiltration, drainage, aeration, and structure with the goal of providing a better environment for roots.  With increased health of the root system, less fertilizers are required.
  • Cultural and mechanical methods such as verticutting and aeration are used to reduce the population density of turf to open the canopy for better growth resulting in increased plant health to better protect against infection and disease. This equates to the use of less pesticides and fertilizers.
RecycleSustainable Marketing Collateral
Sun Peaks Resort Brochures and Trail Maps are printed on paper made from 10 per cent post-consumer recycled content and is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The FSC logo is our assurance that the paper is sourced from suppliers that support the growth of responsible forest management.

Printing on eco-friendly paper saved 25 trees, 17 million BTUs of energy, generated 8,936 gallons less waste water, and 1,479 fewer pounds of solid waste.
RecycleOffice Recycling
  • 100% office paper recycling at Sun Peaks Resort Corporation and Tourism Sun Peaks.
  • 100% recycling of all e-waste including computers, monitors, mobile phones, printers, and fax machines. This is made possible through the efforts of the Stop Computer Land Fill Society, based out of Vernon, BC.

Here are some ways to help minimize your environmental impact at the office.
  • Re-use non-confidential paper to print unofficial documents; two sides are better than one. Click here for more information.
  • Don’t print emails unless you really need to. Be part of the solution by copying and pasting this into your email signature:
    Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to!
  • Use fax post-its rather than cover pages.
  • Reduce paper usage by switching to electronic filing, and e-newsletters.
  • Turn off lights and computers when not in use.
  • Recycle office e-waste.
RecycleMountain Operations
Recycling all aluminum, steel, tires, engine oil, antifreeze, varsol, contaminated fuel, oil and fuel filters, hydraulic fluid, and industrial containers. Instituted and operates a resort wide bottle and can recycling program.
ReduceGrease Usage and Waste Reduction
at the Sunburst Mid Mountain Restaurant
Grease is considered a hazardous waste under ISO 14001. In an effort to reduce the amount of deep fryer grease used in the resort the Sunburst Mid-Mountain Restaurant has eliminated the use of deep fryers, and has implemented a healthier menu. As a further step to do their part, the Sunburst Restaurant will implement the use of reusable dishes and cutlery.
ReduceRecycled Toilet Paper and Paper Towel
All toilet paper and paper towel used in Sun Peaks Resort Corporation public and staff washrooms is made from 100% recycled material.

Sun Peaks is located in a narrow valley. This local geography tends to limit the air movement in and around the village. As such, the resort has taken numerous steps to minimize local air pollution.

ReduceInfrastructure 
  • The village has been laid out to minimize the need for vehicle travel within the Resort. Provision of extensive walkways within the resort area encourages guests to walk instead of drive.
  • Commercial accommodation and services have been clustered in the resort core, so that guests have no need to drive their vehicles within the resort.
  • In 1996, Sun Peaks Resort banned the installation of wood burning fireplaces in all new construction projects to protect valley air quality. To provide an alternative, the Resort constructed a piped distribution system for clean burning propane gas. This system also reduces the number of heavy truck movements in the village that would have been required to deliver gas to individual storage tanks.
ReduceSnowmobile Fleet
  • Complete phase out of snowmobiles with two stroke engines. A complete fleet of four stroke snowmobiles will be in place by the end of 2007.
  • Benefits of four stroke engines: no oil burned, no smell, decreased noise, more efficient fuel consumption; and decreased air pollution.
ReducePisten Bully Snow Cats
  • Sun Peaks Resort has made the decision to switch the entire grooming fleet to Pisten Bully Snow Cats.
  • Pisten Bully Snow Cats burn an average of 3 to 5 litres of fuel less per hour than the competition. This decrease in fuel consumption equals a savings of 6,400 litres per snow cat.
  • 6,400 litres multiplied by 8 snow cats equals 51,200 litres of fuel savings per year for the fleet.
  • The average person uses 3,185 litres of fuel per year.
  • 51,200 litres of fuel savings divided by 3,185 litres equals 16 automobiles.

As the summer of 2003 showed, fire is a very real risk to the resort. Sun Peaks Resort has instituted several measures to minimize the risks of inter-face forest fires, as well as structural fires.

Sun Peaks Fire Department
Sun Peaks Resort was the initial supporter of the Sun Peaks volunteer fire department including establishment of the fire hall, provision of equipment, and the first fire truck.
Utilization of On-Mountain Snow Making System
Use of the on-mountain gravity fed snowmaking system to provide additional water supply for fire fighting purposes. The use of this system, with its own on mountain reservoir, provides an additional fire protection above that of the municipal water system.

  • During a construction site fire in October 2001, the slopes were wet down to protect the mountain and village areas to ensure fire did not spread.
  • During the fires of 2003, this system was fully operational to wet all the slope areas around the village, and provide an extra level of protection by raising the level of humidity.
Staff Training
Mandatory staff training to aid forestry in wildfire first response, and urban interface fires initial response.

We have taken steps to minimize energy use within the resort.

ReduceGravity Fed On-Mountain Snow Making System

The majority of our snowmaking system is gravity fed from on-mountain storage. This means that water is not pumped up the hill in order to make snow, which is a major energy savings. The only exception to this is our International Race Training Centre which requires supplemental snowmaking efforts.

ReduceMicro-Hydro System

An on-mountain micro-hydro system has been proposed. This system will use the winter/spring/summer flow from the snowmaking system to generate electricity at the resort. This proposed 80kW system will produce enough energy annually to power the resort’s largest ski lift, and provide a CO2 credit of 500 tonnes per year.

ReduceBC Hydro Power Smart Incentive Program
  • In 2005, Sun Peaks Resort entered into the BC Hydro Power Smart incentive program.
  • In 2007 awarded the Outstanding Energy Efficiency Project by BC Hydro.
  • This program involved saving electricity by changing all lighting installations to the new standard. To do this the retrofitting of all lighting fixtures, lighting controls, and unit heater controls were incorporated throughout all Sun Peaks Resort Corporation and Delta Sun Peaks buildings and facilities.
  • By taking part in this BC Hydro program Sun Peaks Resort was able to save 1,000,000 Kilowatt hours.
ReduceHydropower
  • Sun Peaks Resort runs all of its lift on hydro powered electricity.
  • Ski resorts in other areas outside of the North West tend to rely on nuclear and diesel generated power sources.
  • By using hydroelectric power we are able to minimize the amount of carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants, this helps lessen the impacts of global warming and acid rain.

If you have any suggestions on how we can be better stewards of this mountain resort environment please contact us.