Anti-Jumbo forces ramping up for February rally

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall is helping lead the charge. -
Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall is helping lead the charge.
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With the end of a 20-year- old saga on the horizon, the West Kootenay EcoSociety and NDP MLA Michelle Mungall are hoping to jump start local interest in the Jumbo resort debate with a rally February 5.

Mungall says the Minister of Natural Resources told her a decision on the proposed year-round resort is coming some time in the next few months. For the $45 million project to go ahead, the provincial government will have to agree to create a resort municipality at the foot of Jumbo mountain.

“The minister didn’t give me anything to go with in terms of which way he’s leaning,” Mungall says, adding she was told all information on the resort is “in the decision matrix” and under review.

But she’s hoping a final display of public disapproval before the decision is made could keep the project from going ahead.

“People want to see Jumbo retained as a wild space. They’re clear about that in our region,” she says, adding backcountry tourism operators near Jumbo have also complained the resort would damage their business.

“I’m hoping the minister will hear us and hear our emphatic opposition and say no.”

David Reid, executive director of the EcoSociety, says he’s also hoping the rally will remind people the Jumbo issue is not yet settled.

“I think it’s an issue that has fallen off the radar a bit, because there’s been so little action in the past year,” he says, adding he’s not sure some of the resort’s opponents realize the province could still okay the project.

“We’re worried the Liberal government is going to sneak this in on its way out,” he adds.

Besides Mungall, at least three other MLAs are set to attend the event, including NDP environment critic Rob Fleming and Norm Macdonald of Columbia River-Revelstoke, whose constituency will house the Jumbo Glacier Resort should it receive the green light. The rally may also provide Nelson its first glimpse of one of the party’s leadership hopefuls.

The rally runs from 12 to 2 p.m. at Central School on February 5.

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