Jumbo Glacier Resort.
The mere mention of the proposed all-season mega resort can spark a heated discussion up and down the Columbia Valley. It’s a decades-long issue that continues to capture the imagination of conservationists, community members, First Nations groups, developers and politicians.
Some advocate for preservation of the Jumbo Valley, others for its development.
Conservationists argue that the Jumbo Valley’s rich wilderness, which is also sacred ground for local First Nations and one of the continent’s most important grizzly bear corridors, should be preserved as it is.
Others argue that resort development would provide for even more tourism opportunities in the valley, and bring in skiers and snowboarders year-round from all over the world.
“It’s not about ski resorts or no ski resorts, it’s about where, to whose benefit, at what cost, and it’s spawned a whole bunch of conversation for people to look at issues going on in their backyard as well…it’s really created a lot of dialogue and conversation in the community,” said Robyn Duncan, the executive director of Wildsight.
The controversial issue has recently come to life on the big screen with Jumbo Wild, a film by Sweetgrass Productions that Wildsight is helping to bring to Golden on Dec. 5.
While many in attendance are certain to lean towards the conservationist side of the argument, Duncan says this is a true documentary that covers both sides of the issue and includes interviews with conservationists and resort proponents and developers.
“The film does an excellent job of telling both sides of the story. You get to see the full picture story of Jumbo, this is not a black and white film. You get to see it all in there,” Duncan said.
The film has been shown through various festivals and screenings across North America as well as abroad, often bringing the lengthy fight to light for new audiences who might not have even a basic knowledge of the battle.
“The audiences have been really, really engaged,” Duncan said.
This past summer the resort’s prospects for development took a major hit when Environment Minister Mary Polak determined that the project “has not been substantially started” and that it would have to obtain a new environmental assessment certificate in order to proceed.
While that ruling was clearly a win for conservationists, Duncan believes the fight must continue in order to ensure that the Jumbo Valley stays undeveloped.
The Dec. 5 screening of Jumbo Wild will take place at the Civic Centre. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the movie will start an hour later. A question and answer period with a panel of guests will follow the screening. The panel will include Duncan, Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald and one of the film’s producers.