The Navajo Nation Council’s Naa’bik’iyati’ committee won’t discuss the Grand Canyon Escalade Thursday.
Legislative aides said Tuesday the committee listed the legislation on its online agenda for two hours. Councilman Ben Bennett then pulled the bill after he met with Navajo Nation Speaker Lorenzo Bates. Bennett, the bill’s sponsor, could not be reached for a comment about why he delayed the bill.
The Escalade bill had been placed on Naa’bik’iyati’s March 9 agenda shortly after the council’s Budget and Finance Committee rejected the bill February 21 at Bodaway/Gap Chapter.
Naa’bik’iyati’ is the last panel to consider the Escalade bill before it reaches the Navajo Nation Council for a vote.
The Escalade bill proposes the council approve a master operating contract with Confluence Partners LLC, developers from Scottsdale, who want to build a mega-tourist development site overlooking the confluence of the Little and Colorado Rivers. A key feature of the project is a gondola that will transport visitors from the rim to the floor Grand Canyon Eastern rim.
The bill also asks the nation to pay $65 million for the project’s infrastructure and approve a 420-acre land withdrawal, property which developers propose to build a restaurant, hotel, a visitor center and parking lot.
The resort should be in operation by 2020, according to Confluence Partner Albert Hale.
Naa’bik’iyati’ consists of the full 24-member council lawmakers and debates bills ahead of the official session. By the time a legislation reaches the council, Naa’bi’iyati’, for example, would have already addressed most questions because less time is offered to delegates to speak on the council floor.
Bennett filed the Escalade bill in late August. The bill was assigned to the council’s four committees for review. They are Law and Order, Resources and Development, Budget and Finance and Naa’bi’iyati’.
None of the committees has approved the bill.