Resort still lacks land use approval necessary to proceed

A letter to the editor from the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society.

Despite strong evidence that Jumbo Glacier Resort is bad for the Kootenay and bad for B.C., the Province appears to have allowed the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort to move one step closer to reality.

At the March 21 press conference announcing signing of the Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Development Agreement (MDA), Minister Steve Thompson and provincial staff relied heavily on outdated and flawed information to defend their rationale for the so called approval.

The Province disregarded peer reviewed research by North America’s leading grizzly bear.  This research demonstrates that Jumbo Glacier Resort will result in the loss of bears locally and will diminish the viability of the regional population of grizzly bears.

Further, the Province has never received a positive independent economic impact assessment for the resort, but has than one assessment which suggests that the viability of the resort is questionable and that “… there is no basis to suggest there would be any resource and land use net benefit due to the project”.

“Claims by the Province that this resort is environmentally and economically sound demonstrate willful ignorance of the facts. But the public is not fooled. Ignoring the facts does not make them go away. If it were to proceed, Jumbo Resort would be a significant burden on the ecosystems and economy of this region, and the people of the Kootenay are not prepared to accept that outcome”, said Jim Galloway of the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society.

In 2004, the province made its first announcement of “approval” with the issuance of an Environmental Assessment (EA) Certificate for Jumbo Resort.

But the EA Certificate did not include a key requirement of land use approval, and neither does the signing of the MDA. In order to proceed Jumbo Resort will still need the RDEK to rezone the Land; for Cabinet to approve a Resort Municipality; or for an existing municipality to step forward to allow the Jumbo Valley to become part of their boundaries.

The province has framed these steps as minor inconveniences, but in fact they each require a high profile process fraught with controversy.

“This announcement is little more than smoke and mirrors on the part of the Province.The Province has attempted, once again, to make it look like they are moving Jumbo Resort forward. But Minister Steve Thompson himself stated that the resort cannot proceed without land use. That means a public process at either the local government level or a cabinet decision. These venues present significant political challenges to the elected decision makers involved and the public will be there to make sure that the facts of Jumbo Glacier Resort cannot be overlooked” stated Mr. Galloway.

Jim Galloway

Director, Jumbo Creek Conservation Society