Constituents of Navajo Nation Council Delegate Ben Bennett have refused to support his bill to build a multi-million-dollar tourist resort at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers.
Crystal Chapter, a tiny New Mexico chapter, voted 58 in favor on Sunday (Dec. 18, 2016), none opposed and eight abstained, against its own delegate’s bill. Bennett represents Fort Defiance, Sawmill, Red Lake and Crystal chapters on the Navajo Nation Council. Crystal
The chapter, instead, threw its support behind Bodaway/Gap grazing permit holders and land users, who overwhelmingly have rejected the proposal, which threatens sacred sites, culture and the environment.
Bennett’s bill asks the Navajo Council to approve a master operating contract. A part of the bill wants the council to withdraw 420-acres of property overlooking the confluence of the Little and Colorado Rivers without consent of grazing permit holders.
Confluence Partners LLC, developers from Scottsdale, propose to develop the tourist hub on the 420 acres. A key feature is a gondola that will transport visitors from the rim to the floor of the canyon.
The agreement also asks the nation to pay $65 million for infrastructure.
The legislation, filed in late August, is moving through a legislative process toward the full council. The council’s Resources and Development Committee is the second panel to review the bill before it moves to Budget and Finance and Naa’bik’iyati’ committees.