Although the preliminary Wasatch Canyons Master Plan has been changed from earlier drafts, it is still flawed by an implied bias against private interests in the canyons, according to a resolution adopted Tuesday by the Board of Governors of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
The resolution actually was sent to the Salt Lake County Planning Commission Monday because that was the deadline for comment submission. The chamber's executive committee approved the resolution a few days ago and couldn't bring it to the board until Tuesday's regular meeting.Because the board believes the preliminary plan is biased against business development in the canyons, the resolution urges the commission to "shift direction and attempt to avoid bias in developing a document intended to serve all of the citizens and users of the canyons."
The resolution also asks the commission to consider suggestions sent in an accompanying letter from Fred S. Ball, chamber president.
Ball said the chamber agrees the main emphasis must be placed on protecting the watershed. "However, we wish to point out that the ski resorts have an excellent track record in protecting and even enhancing water quality in the canyons. The ski industry has not been incompatible with the preservation or enhancement of the watershed," he said.
"Another vital concern of the chamber in this process is the symbiotic relationship between the canyons and the valley. It is our observation that the relationship calls for balance and a careful, considerate decision-making process," Ball wrote.
To improve the plan, Ball suggests county planners keep watershed preservation as a top priority; recognize and treat equally private interests, property owners and other taxpayers using the canyons; structure an evaluation procedure that is thorough and even-handed to review development proposals; and recognize that conflicts will arise between canyon-users and establish conflict-resolution procedures and strategies.
The resolution noted that commercial activities in the Wasatch canyons have been "reasonable and responsive to the needs of our citizens and tourists and the tourism industry has become critical to the vitality and economic health of our city, county and state."