LETTER: Jumbo plans change

The July 21 meeting of Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality received a letter from the Jumbo Glacier Resorts.

The July 21 meeting of Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality received a letter from the Jumbo Glacier Resorts and development proponent, Oberto Oberti. It said: “Glacier Resort Ltd. (parent corporation of the proposed resort) cannot allow the project to be dismissed after having substantially done everything that it was asked to do and was permitted to do up to Oct. 12, 2014, and it believes that a judicial review will show clearly that the minister did not make a correct decision in declaring the project not substantially started. Glacier’s lawyers will submit a request for a judicial review as soon as the case is prepared.”

That will make the fourth judicial review relevant to the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort and development. The most current is the West Kootenay Eco-Society challenging the authenticity of the Jumbo Glacier Resort municpality. And last March the Ktunaxa Nation appealed to their previous judicial review requesting Jumbo Valley remain wild forever as it is their Qat’Muk, a very sacred place.

Mr. Oberti’s letter also stated, “Glacier Resort Ltd. intends to work with minor amendments to the resort master plan and the master development agreement, reducing the size of the project below the thresholds of the Environmental Assessment Act by moving forward under the All Season Resort Policy as the policy does not contain the same substantially started deadline aspect as the Environmental Assessment Act.”

In a recent interview with my government contact person in the mountain resorts department of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations I learned the following: “There is still some evaluating happening having to do with the latest events for the Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal but we are close to the end. And so far, a scaled-down version has not been submitted. The scaled-down version allows a maximum 2,000 bed resort with a maximum of 600 beds for resort guests.”

I asked “Does that mean 1,400 beds for employees and private ownership like condos, townhouses and private residences?” The answer was affirmative.

Any resort proposal over 2,000 beds falls within the Environmental Assessment Act. The original Jumbo Glacier Resort and development proposal was for a city the size of Nelson with a 6,200 hectare land base. Now, looking at a nose count of 2,000 we see a place twice as big as Kaslo.

At that July 21 Jumbo Glacier Mountain resort municpality meeting council members voted unanimously to give the third and final reading to the Jumbo official community plan and formally adopt it.

“The OCP is now a fact on the ground, one of the few at the moment,” said mayor Greg Deck, adding that “if nothing comes of the proponent’s judicial review petition against Minister [Mary] Polak’s decision, then I expect the municipality and its OCP and bylaws will be dissolved. If the judicial review is successful, then the OCP is already in place; and if a scaled-down resort proposal ends up going ahead, then we will do what every municipality does — amend and change our OCP.”

So that’s what’s been brewing while we took a little breather — not at all surprising, actually. The All Season Resort Policy  has a reputation for not being as stringent as the Environmental Assessment Act so we should expect the pace to quicken. For Jumbo Wilders it’s back to the front lines — while the government and proponent continue their marathon of smoke and mirrors that has, thus far, been part of three different political parties and eight different governments.

Rowena Eloise, West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild, Argenta

 

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