As Jumbo Glacier Resort developers get a green light to build lifts and a lodge at the resort site, the fight against the controversial development is forging ahead despite disappointment.
The permit allowing construction to proceed on ski lifts and a lodge of up to 150 rooms was approved by Jumbo mayor Greg Deck and the resort municipality’s council last week — the governing body which the West Kootenay EcoSociety executive director David Reid along with lawyer Judah Harrison filed a petition in BC Court against in February.
“The zoning permit is obviously frustrating, but it’s not unexpected,” Reid told the Star on Saturday.
“It doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of the people in the Kootenays are opposed to it. It doesn’t change the fact that there are two lawsuits in the courts right now challenging the development agreement and the municipality. It doesn’t change the fact that there are people willing to put themselves on the line to keep this resort from happening.”
The EcoSociety’s aim is to challenge the appointment of a governing body without any electors saying it violates the constitution and various provincial statutes. Though building can now go ahead, Reid doubts anything will get done this summer because the application didn’t have a proponent, he said.
“It wasn’t that there was someone out there saying ‘I’ve got a $100 million I want to build a backcountry lodge on Farnham Glacier, can I get some zoning for that please?’” said Reid. “It was someone on city council who said ‘why don’t we get this thing started and open the door in case someone comes along?’”
Reid is confident in the strength of their case and if the courts overturn the municipality, the zoning would be meaningless. The province has gotten two extensions from the court to delay response to the lawsuit. A response is expected by the end of May.
“A lot of people expected a change in government to answer the Jumbo question,” said Reid. “Now, it’s even more important that community members get involved in the campaign to keep Jumbo wild. It doesn’t change our determination.”
Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall promised to fight for a wild Jumbo as she campaigned for re-election. She says the governing body overseeing the resort doesn’t have to worry about accountability because they won’t be seeking public re-election. Moving forward with development is their only mandate, she said.
“That’s exactly what the council is there for. It’s accountable to no one. It doesn’t have to actually address any of the public concerns that they may hear. No one has elected them and they won’t seek re-election from anybody,” she said.
Mungall is working to continue organized opposition alongside Norm Macdonald from Columbia River-Revelstoke as the two NDP MLAs serving the public in affected ridings.
“Norm and I are working with community groups as to what the next steps will be,” she said.”
The proposed $450-million high elevation glacier-based ski resort west of Invermere is planned in three phases and will ultimately include 5,500 bed-units in a 104-hectare resort base area.