Responding to the [British Columbia] province’s approval of the Master Development Plan for Jumbo Glacier Resort, local environmental, naturalist, outdoors and social justice groups criticized the decision, saying the decision is an unfortunate step in the wrong direction.
“In polls, petitions, and letters, thousands of Kootenay residents have voiced their opposition to this destructive and short-sighted proposal for 25 years,” said K. Linda Kivi of the West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild. “The provincial government is turning its back on the people, on the scientific evidence, and First Nations who have opposed this project.” Kivi is also the editor of the anthology The Purcell Suite: Upholding the Wild.
David Reid, Executive Director for Nelson-based West Kootenay EcoSociety, expects opposition to the proposal to grow in the face of the Ministry’s decision. “The majority of the residents of the West Kootenays have been very clear about their demand to keep Jumbo wild for future generations. This decision is a tragic step in the wrong direction, but I am confident that in the long term, the will of the people will prevail and Jumbo will be protected. The Province’s promised habitat protection strategy can’t improve upon the strategy of leaving the area wild.”
The resort development proposal would put over 6,000 beds into the Jumbo Valley and envisions a 20-year process to convert over 6,000 hectares of wilderness into a ski resort with 23 lifts and all the amenities of a small city. The project’s environmental assessment was completed in 2004, prior to research that demonstrated the area’s importance to regional populations of grizzly bear. The Ktunaxa Nation has opposed the proposal, and hired a consultant to evaluate the supposed economic benefit. The report, by Dr. Marvin Shaffer, determined that “There is no basis to conclude there would be net benefit for the Province of British Columbia if this resort is approved. The market growth forecasts underlying the proponent's feasibility studies are out-dated; they do not reflect current market conditions or outlooks.”
The Resort Master Plan was approved in 2007. The Master Development Agreement sets the terms and conditions for the development of the resort. The project will still have to apply for zoning changes and permitting.
Ed. note: Jüri Peepre (previously of theYukon) is now the chair of Wildsight, the main enviromental organization. running the Jumbo campaign. Thus there are two Estonian environmentalists in key roles in the battle to save the Jumbo Valley from development.
Local Groups Blast Jumbo Decision (2)