West Kootenay EcoSociety loses bid to overturn Jumbo City
Fake town, with no residents . . . no problem BC Supreme Court judge Madam Justice Choi ruled Tuesday in Nelson.
“It is obvious that the fake town is terrible and while we understand the judge’s ruling, we disagree with it,” said David Reid, Executive Director of West Kootenay EcoSociety.
Reid said the West Kootenay EcoSociety launched the court challenge in February 2013 with the support of local residents and West Coast Environmental Law after the BC Government created the municipality to support the development of a controversial ski resort that has no residents or citizens.
The province appointed the mayor and council in 2013, and the municipality has received over $450,000 in grants from the province to support development of the Jumbo Valley.
The project lost its environmental approval from the Province in June of this year after failing to substantially start within a ten-year window.
The court challenge argued that the municipality violates provincial laws requiring municipalities to serve community interests. The province appointed the Mayor and two councillors in 2012.
However, Madam Justice Choi disagreed.
“Cities must have citizens, and town councils must be elected by someone,” Reid said in a prepared statement.
“The province shouldn’t be allowed to create a municipality in order to overcome the opposition of local people and their elected representatives.”
The Jumbo Glacier Resort project is a year-round ski resort development in the Jumbo Creek valley, 55 km west of Invermere.
The estimated 104-hectare resort base area was scheduled to consist of a hotel with 6,250 bed units (which includes 750 bed units for staff accommodation), condominium vacation homes, and associated amenities.
The Controlled Recreation Area, which includes areas licenced for ski runs and connecting territory, encompasses approximately 5,925 hectares and includes lift-serviced access to several nearby glaciers at an elevation of up to 3,400 metres.
Reid said the resort lost its environmental permit in June when BC’s Minister of Environment determined that the project did not meet the deadline to commence construction.
The development company behind the project plans to skirt environmental assessment requirements by reducing the size of the resort from over 6000 beds to just less than 2000.
Reid vowed to keep fighting for Jumbo Wild, and called for the province to pull the plug on the resort.
“The province should require the developer to remediate the area they’ve damaged with their premature and ill-conceived construction,” he said.
“In addition, the province should move immediately to create permanent protection for the Jumbo Valley in consultation with First Nations.”
Read the decision of Madam Justice Choi.