The Corin Forest Mountain Resort is wanting to expand its capacity by building a new ski slope and lift, and has received an environmental thumbs-up for the project.
The facility at Paddy’s River in the Tidbinbilla Range, south-west of Canberra, has proposed the construction of a ski lift and ski slope on the south-facing slope within the Corin Forest Mountain Reserve.
It plans to clear 2.25 hectares of native vegetation, carry out earthworks and install a ski lift and load and offload points, bull wheels and towers to add to the existing ski slope, snow-play area and alpine slide.
The resort owner, which has provided Flora and Fauna and Aboriginal Heritage assessments, had put to the Conservator of Flora and Fauna Ian Walker that its proposal was unlikely to have a significant adverse environmental impact.
Mr Walker agreed this would be the case if the project was carried out as described and under the conditions set.
Vegetation at the site includes Alpine Ash, Snow Gum, Sub-alpine Wet Heathland and Black Sallee Grass-Herb Woodland. There are also at least three species of mammals, one species of frog and 38 species of birds, two of which – the Winged Triller and the Little Eagle – are threatened.
But Mr Walker says the site and extent of works has been well chosen to avoid impacts to the Sub-alpine Wet Heathland, and the vegetation to be cleared is widespread and very well reserved within the ACT.
The main area to be cleared is in an already disturbed region and about half is regrowth from the 2003 bushfires, although there are eight hollow-bearing trees in the montane forested area.
There should be no direct impacts on the alpine bog community and indirect impacts are likely to be minimal, Mr Walker said.
The development area does not include the habitat of the Channelled Leek Orchid or important nesting, sheltering or foraging habitat for threatened or rare fauna, and the proposal does not significantly impact on wildlife corridors.
The proposal should not impact on the flow into Gibraltar Creek and exotic species will not be sown along the ski slope or lift alignment.
Conditions include precautions to prevent the introduction of weeds, the hollow-bearing trees will be felled outside the bird breeding season, and no work will be done on Total Fire Ban days or when the ground is wet and boggy.
Corin Forest is the only commercial snow facility in the ACT and the closest ski or snow-play area to Canberra, about a 45-minute drive away.
It rarely snows at Corin but the resort uses snow-making technologies overnight when temperatures plunge to provide a consistent cover up to 2.5 metres deep.
In 2019 Corin Forest invested in all-weather snowmaking technology as part of its climate change strategy. The machine makes flake ice inside the unit using refrigeration so the resort is not reliant on sub-zero temperatures in order to produce snow.