COLUMN: Let’s win the ‘keep Jumbo Wild’ fight

This summer, the temperature isn’t the only thing heating up. The fight for Jumbo Wild is sure to heat up.

This summer, the temperature isn’t the only thing heating up. The fight for Jumbo Wild is sure to heat up as the proponent’s days become numbered.

This October, Jumbo Glacier Resorts (JGR) will lose its environmental certificate necessary to continue pursuing its goal if it does not build something “substantive.”

The legislation is clear and the one extension allowable under the law was granted in 2009. The court decisions have also been clear in what is “substantive” construction.

That said, JGR is under extreme pressure to build something substantive before October. We are under the same pressure to stop them.

My colleague Norm Macdonald, the MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke, and I have been using every tool in the Legislature to voice the region’s desire for a Jumbo Wild.

Recently, Norm sent a letter asking the government for details about the ways in which they have been monitoring and approving the many environmental conditions JGR has to meet prior to construction.

We’re wanting the government to rely on more than a self-report by JGR.

Of course, it is not just your local MLAs who have been standing up for Jumbo Wild. Local advocacy groups have been at the forefront of the work to keep Jumbo Wild, and their ongoing dedication requires our support.

Most importantly, the Ktunaxa have been clear that they will not let go of their spirituality and scared places, and they especially need our support in an era of reconciliation.

Keeping Jumbo Wild has been our local call for more than half my lifetime, and now is no time to stop. Presently, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is repairing the road to Jumbo Pass trailhead after it was washed out and covered with avalanches in several locations. Once this work is done, JGR will commence its road work with plans to replace a bridge that was removed with the purpose to protect the area from vehicle access that was having negative impacts.

While this is going on, the fake town of Jumbo’s Mayor and Council is quickly passing zoning permits for a ski lift and day lodge in the Jumbo Valley.

The public meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. August 6 in Radium (because, of course, there are no people or buildings in Jumbo).

It therefore appears that JGR has abandoned last year’s plan for developing a “boutique hotel” on Farnham Glacier. But, I am sure that the fake town appreciated all of the paperwork from last and this year to justify the funding they get from the Liberal government.

I find it most interesting that while we have steadfastly said no to a ski resort on Jumbo, new ski hills like Golden’s Kicking Horse Resort have fully developed and now enjoy skiers on the slopes because the region wanted them.

Others like our local Whitewater Winter Resort have expanded, and we enjoy the backside chair. This goes to show that our preference for a Jumbo Wild isn’t because we don’t like skiing and outdoor recreation, but because JGR is a wrong-headed development.

Nevertheless, its few backers keep pushing it through long after the proposal should have died a natural death.

They have their friend Liberal MLA Bill Bennett helping them every step of the way. And I will not let it go unsaid that his government’s lack of responsibility to the public in favour of a few friends is irresponsible at best.

With time ticking, it is this summer that our winter sport, our local economy and our environment need us all.

Keeping Jumbo Wild has been our fight for more than 23 years. Let’s win it.

 

— Michelle Mungall is the MLA for Nelson- Creston. She appears in the Nelson Star once a month.

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