Environment Minister Mary Polak has determined that the Jumbo Glacier Resort project has not been substantially started.
“As a result, the environmental assessment certificate has expired and Glacier Resorts Ltd. cannot proceed with developing this project unless a new certificate is obtained,” a news release from the Environment ministry states.
Obtaining a new certificate would entail the project essentially going back to square one, in terms of getting approvals for the project.
Documentation related to the minister’s decision can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/q93nzon
From the news release:
“In making her decision, the minister focused on the physical activities that had taken place at the project site. In this case, the minister determined that the physical activities undertaken on the various components did not meet the threshold of a substantially started project.
“In making her determination, the minister considered:
- submissions from Glacier Resorts Ltd., the Ktunaxa Nation Council and the Shuswap Indian Band;
- guidance from the court decision in Taku River Tlingit First Nation v. British Columbia;
- the Environmental Assessment Office’s substantially started determination report; and
- her own observations from a visit to the Jumbo Glacier Resort project site on Oct. 11, 2014.”
This afternoon Polak took part in a conference call for the media. In reply to reporters’ questions she made the following points:
- She is aware that there are implications for the role of the Jumbo municipality and the master development agreement, but the appropriate ministries — the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development — will decide those. She said those ministries did not know of her decision before today.
- Her role was limited to the question of whether the work was substantially started on October 12, not to assess the merits of the project.
- She was not convinced that the work done to date met the threshold for “substantially started.”
- The location of the day lodge foundation in an avalanche zone did not affect her decision.
- In making her determination she compared what was done with what had been planned.
- The developer could apply for a new environmental certificate, and after the application procedure an environmental certificate process can be done in 180 days.
“The province made the right decision,” said the West Kootenay EcoSociety’s David Reid. “It is utterly reasonable, given the developer’s failure to comply with the environmental certificate. I know Mary Polak wanted to do the right thing, and that is why it took them so long to make this decision.”
Reid said the EcoSociety’s court case will continue, however, because today’s decision leaves the status of the Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality up in the air.