Michelle Mungall

COLUMN: People power keeps Jumbo wild

After 25 years, our region received some very good news last month.

After 25 years, our region received some very good news: Jumbo Glacier Resort lost its environmental certificate that allowed it to build a mega resort on Jumbo Glacier. The Kootenays responded with a big cheer. We had been clear for more than two decades that this proposed resort was a bad idea and unwanted.

It’s not that we didn’t like the resort because we have a problem with skiing or snowboarding. The Kootenays have one of the highest concentrations of ski resorts and back country operations in North America. We love to ski! I’m a snowboarder and most of my friends can be found on the hill when the snow flies. So we know a good ski resort from a bad one, and Jumbo Glacier Resort was destined to be a bad one.

We certainly don’t have a problem with economic development. Kootenay people are amazing entrepreneurs, ever expanding the tourism industry and all the other industries that make us such a special part of the world. But not everything is going to fit in our economic strategy, and Jumbo Glacier Resort didn’t fit.

We believe it imperative that we protect our environment for generations to come. In an era of climate change, skiing on a glacier just doesn’t make sense.

We need it to provide clean fresh water to drink, irrigate farms, stock our lakes, and generate carbon-free electricity. Along with protecting our water sources, we protect our wildlife, and the Jumbo Valley is home to a genetically important grizzly bear population as well as many other species who would have been negatively impacted by a resort.

We also know that building respectful relationships with First Nations is the way forward. Reconciliation will never happen if governments and communities do not recognize and value the spiritual traditions and culture of aboriginal peoples.

The Ktunaxa name for Jumbo is Qat’muk. It is home of the grizzly bear spirit, and is a sacred place in their traditions. Despite aboriginal peoples’ long experiences of being oppressed, beaten, denigrated and mocked for sharing their traditions, the Ktunaxa gathered their courage to let the world know what Qat’muk meant to them and that a resort there would be devastating.

Words cannot express the honour it has been to bring these voices to the legislature and pressure the Liberal government to keep Jumbo wild.

They ignored us in 2004 when they allowed the resort proponents to proceed by issuing the necessary environmental certificate. They ignored us in 2009 when they automatically renewed the certificate. They ignored us when they came up with the crazy scheme of setting up and funding a fake town to issue permits for the resort.

But we couldn’t be ignored forever. Major investors stayed away. The proponent failed. We never stopped. And it made the difference.

The proponents now say they might come back with a new design that won’t require an environmental certificate to proceed. I doubt they have the financial backing to do this, but even if they do, they would do better to read the law in full and consider it.

The law is clear that the minister may designate any project for an environmental review, particularly if there are potential “adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage, or health effect” from the proposal.

Knowing what we know about the potential for adverse effects in all of these criteria, it is wishful thinking to suggest that a smaller scale resort for this area wouldn’t require an environmental assessment. With that it mind, the proponents might want to reconsider their stubbornness, cut their losses and move on because the Kootenays will keep Jumbo wild.

We will continue to sign petitions, put bumper stickers on cars, attend rallies, write letters, donate, go to court, elect representative who work to keep Jumbo wild, and talk to other people about Jumbo if that’s what it takes. But friends, I think we can celebrate the amazing work we have done and the results we have achieved. Jumbo is wild and it is going to stay that way.

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall writes here once a month.

 

Just Posted

Downtown Automotive awarded for hiring practices

The annual award is handed out by the Kootenay Career Development Society

Castlegar, Grand Forks areas to see cleaner winter roads under new contract

YRB set to take over 10-year maintenance contract on Monday

VIDEO: Nelson Tennis Club’s new home opens

The revitalized courts above LVR had their grand opening Saturday

Purcell withdraws from Nelson council election

First-time candidate Heather Keczan has also withdrawn

U.S. Court upholds Teck pollution ruling

Teck appealed a previous decision that it must pay $8.25 million in Colville Confederated Tribes’ court costs

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Ottawa working to iron out kinks in public alert system

The alerts are being credit with saving lives during last week’s tornadoes

Most Read