Bodaway/Gap opposes Confluence plans

By Cindy Yurth
Tséyi' Bureau

CHINLE, May 24, 2012

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(File photo - Donovan Quintero)

Mary Ann Nockaideneh, who grew up and raised her family near the Confluence, where the Little Colorado River meets the Colorado River, looks at the Grand Canyon.

C itizens of Bodaway/Gap Chapter Sunday passed two resolutions opposing the proposed luxury hotel and tramway at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers, saying the developers bypassed local residents.

Chapter officials refused to sign one of the resolutions saying it "named too many names," according to Chapter President Billy Arizona Jr.

The first resolution, which passed 41-0 according to an individual who attended the meeting, chides the Navajo Nation for continuing "to disrespect the local Navajo people by ignoring their inherit right to participate in any plans, proposals, developments and improvements which affect customary land users/stakeholders, local residents and the chapter."

The resolution asks that any development plans be "coordinated with land users through notification, education, fair negotiation and/or compensation, and collection of land users written consents with supporting Chapter Resolutions ..."

It also asks that the chapter receive at least 25 percent of any revenue generated by the development.

The second resolution, an amendment to the first which reportedly passed 42-0-2, specifically names Confluence Partners LLC, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based partnership that has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Navajo Nation for the proposed $100 million resort, and the Navajo Nation officials involved in the negotiations.

Arizona said the chapter officials felt the language was too personal and went beyond the scope of a chapter resolution.

"We're going to ask them to revise it and bring it back," he said.

According to Arizona, the first resolution was a product of the chapter's Community Land Use Planning Committee while the second was brought by individuals who oppose the development.

The second resolution states the proposed resort is opposed by nearly 300 signers of a petition, as well as the Hopi Tribe, and urges the Navajo Nation to "cease and desist from any and all negotiations with the Confluence Partners."

"The land users, which include grazing permit carriers and home site lease holders, rejected the plan by the Confluence Partners for varied reasons," the resolution reads. "They include (principal Lamar) Whitmer's questionable background, the group's lack of experience to carry out a massive project and the secrecy exhibited by both the Navajo Nation and the developers in moving the project on a fast track."

Arizona State Rep. Albert Hale, a member of Confluence Partners, said he had not seen the resolutions but noted that Confluence Partners has repeatedly approached the stakeholders about its plans.

"We've made presentations to the community and we will continue to do that," he said.

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