Letter: Monitoring Jumbo

As you may know, Glacier Resorts Ltd. is in a big hurry to substantially commence their mega-resort project in the Jumbo Valley.

I returned this week from the Jumbo Valley, having spent two weeks at the Jumbo Citizen’s Monitoring Camp.

As you may know, Glacier Resorts Ltd. is in a big hurry to substantially commence their mega-resort project in the Jumbo Valley. Their environmental assessment certificate is due to expire on October 12 if they don’t get this project started.

In their hurry to make some feeble mark of progress at this final hour, at least three excavators and crews of workers have been working daily in the wilderness of the Jumbo Valley. The noise of machines building bridges, cutting trees, punching in roads, drilling wells, excavating clearings, digging pits and removing rock and soil for their construction emanates throughout the valley.

Jumbo Creek runs dirty from sediments they’ve disturbed. In the process, I believe they are violating many of their legally binding agreements with the Environmental Assessment Office.

In my view, Glacier Resorts has been in violation of Condition No. 88 which requires that they keep ATVs and other recreational vehicles out of the controlled recreation area.

Last fall, they installed a rinky-dink gate in the Farnham drainage that has been completely ineffective in keeping motorized traffic out. It probably wouldn’t help if they locked this gate since it’s so flimsily constructed and installed to begin with.

They have failed to keep motorized traffic out of the Jumbo side as well. (Note Jumbo Wilders support all traditional uses of the valley.)

I think in the past few weeks Glacier Resorts was in violation of Condition No. 154 as well, which requires that the public continue to have access to the Jumbo Valley for sightseeing and hunting.

Glacier Resorts Ltd. vice-president Grant Costello has repeatedly told members of the public that they are barred from accessing the entire upper Jumbo Valley, as though it is his private property. No hunting signs grace the barrier they have erected. People understand the safety requirements of staying away from active construction but to block the entire valley, which is Crown land and not entirely under construction is flagrantly illegal.

Why is the government not enforcing its own laws?

Why do the RCMP come to our camp on a regular basis to pester the committed and respectful senior citizens staffing the camp but do nothing about the violations of law by Glacier Resorts Ltd.?

Two judicial reviews are being sought — by the Ktunaxa First Nation and the West Kootenay EcoSociety — about this development. Wouldn’t it make sense to deal with these concerns prior to damaging the Jumbo Valley?

But no, the whole process of permitting the Jumbo Resort and establishing the pseudo-town of the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality has demonstrated that this government has little respect for the will of the residents of the Kootenays and the democratic process.

By not enforcing their own laws, the government is demonstrating a lack of respect for the judiciary and law. If the BC government is little more than an autocratic puppet for corporations, how can the public continue to support this charade? Will we continue to support this charade?

This government should not underestimate the great love that people of the Kootenays, indigenous and settler, progressive and conservative, feel for their homeplace.

The Purcell Range is the jewel of our ecosystems here, the cradle of genetic diversity for many wild species and a place where our spirits fuse with the wilderness, each in our own way.

We hike in Jumbo, we hunt in Jumbo, we run our businesses in Jumbo, we pray in Jumbo, we explore in Jumbo, we trap in Jumbo and we honour Jumbo just the way it is, wild.

 

K.L. Kivi

Blewett