Environment Minister Mary Polak has announced the Jumbo Glacier Resort has not made a “substantial start.” The Jumbo Wild public is elated, thinking the announcement means Jumbo will be wild forever. Yet the government is only half of the equation.
Today I talked with my government contact person in the mountain resort branch of the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. That office specifically handles the master development agreement, which, when issued in 2010, allowed Jumbo Glacier Resort to put a shovel in the ground and work toward their “substantial start” to be achieved by Oct. 12, 2014.
The resort development branch “had no forewarning about the announcement and were equally surprised. The announcement implies many things. All this will take some time to figure out. There is much interest in what happens next,” my contact said.
It is the environmental assessment office which takes care of compliance, or in this case, non-compliance. I learned “First the Jumbo Glacier Resort people will meet with the environmental assessment office and then they’ll know better in which direction to head. It is possible that they’ll simply walk away.”
We do recall that when the recent avalanche report came in, the environmental assessment office offered a reprieve to Jumbo Glacier Resort in order to move the foundations out of the non-compliance zone. Thus far there has been no report that they have accepted that offer. And, at the time when the environmental assessment office announced the non-compliance conclusion, Thomas Oberti (son of Oberto, in whose portfolio is the Jumbo Glacier Resort) is quoted as saying, “we knew we were putting the foundations in avalanche zones.”
So the plot thickens, as the old saying goes.
West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild