Liberal government approves Jumbo Glacier Resort development, opposing sides remain divided after announcement from Victoria
It’s a decision that took more than 20 years to make, but despite the B.C. Government giving approval to Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Development, the fight no doubt will go on for another two decades.
“After more than 20 years of comprehensive and exhaustive reviews, it was time to make a decision,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations from Victoria.
“I approved Jumbo Glacier Resort’s Master Development Agreement after reviewing all of the relevant documentation, and meeting with both First Nations and the proponent.”
The approval gives Glacier Resorts Ltd the go ahead to build North America’s only year-round glacier based resort.
The resort will be in the Purcell Mountains, 57 km west of Invermere, on the site of an old sawmill. The completed ski resort will feature up to 23 lifts, a 3,000 metre-high gondola and spectacular world-class views.
But not all parties are happy with the decision by the B.C. Liberals. Especially the opposition party, NDP.
“People in Kootenay West have written and e-mailed me to say they strongly disagree with building a resort in the Jumbo Valley,” said MLA for West Kootenay/Boundary Katrine Conroy. “It doesn’t make sense environmentally or economically.”
“Today’s announcement that the B.C. Liberal Government will approve the development of the Jumbo Glacier Resort is a slap in the face to the people of this region who have opposed it for decades,” Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall said.
“I am incredibly disappointed that the Liberals have chosen to ignore decades of widespread opposition to this proposal. From the Ktunaxa Nation to NHL legend Scott Neidermeyer, local businesses and environmental groups, countless people have voiced their support for a Jumbo Wild, not a resort.”
“To finally come down on the wrong side of the region is unacceptable,” Mungall adds.
Mungall believes the proposed resort will impact local ski operators as well as efforts to protect grizzly bear habitat.
“I have heard from countless residents and local small businesses,” notes Mungall. “They have developed an excellent tourism industry that just doesn’t fit with a Jumbo Resort. They know it won’t be good for them and it won’t be good for the grizzly bears.”
Although Thomson said the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will pursue the establishment of a large wildlife management area to protect Grizzly bear habitat.
East Kootenay MLA, Bill Bennett, said it was time to make a decision.
“This project has, for over 20 years, divided Kootenay communities. I am grateful for a final decision,” Bennett said.
“I thank the Minister for making it and Premier Christy Clark for creating an environment where tough decisions can be made.
“No matter which side of the debate you’re on, the majority of folks in the East Kootenay will be relieved by the certainty.”
Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce president Rose-Marie Regitnig echoes the comments of Bennett.
“The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce is pleased that a decision around Jumbo Glacier Resort has finally been made,” she said.
“We believe that over 20 years of indecision by three different governments was negatively impacting our communities.
“While we recognize that not all individuals will be pleased with the decision we do look forward to working with our members on the opportunities that this decision will present,” Regitnig adds.
“It is our objective to help our members grow and develop their businesses in both an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.”
View the Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/resort_development/resort_plans/approved/Jumbo.htm
Read press release by Jumbo Glacier Resort: http://www.jumboglacierresort.com/