Cantons Uri and Graubünden have given the green light to expand the ski area linked to the Andermatt Swiss Alps development of Egyptian tycoon Samih Sawiris.
The new ski area would offer 100 kilometres of runs and connect Uri’s Andermatt with Sedrun across the Oberalp pass in Graubünden.
The authorities of Uri said the project was economically and environmentally justifiable and had the necessary acceptance within the local communities.
They added that the ski area upgrade was essential for the tourist destination to become internationally competitive.
However, environmental organisations including the WWF, Pro Natura and Mountain Wilderness said they would reserve the right to lodge a formal complaint against the expansion.
On Wednesday, the green groups said lacking were a master plan, a sustainability and environmental impact report and findings to prove economic viability.
When finished in the winter of 2013/2014, Sawiris’s $1 billion (SFr840 million) resort will be the largest of its kind in the Alps. There will be six hotels with 844 rooms, 25-30 villas as well as 490 apartments in 42 multi-family homes.
swissinfo.ch and agencies