West Kootenay EcoSociety back in court to eliminate Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality
The West Kootenay EcoSociety is overwhelmed by the decision by the recent announcement made by Environment Minister Mary Polak that the Jumbo Glacier Resort project cannot proceed with unless a new certificate is obtained.
However, the West Kootenay EcoSociety plans to continue the court process to overturn the creation of the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality.
“We are very grateful to our supporters who have made it possible for us to take on this case,” said David Reid, Executive Director of the court case that begins Wednesday in Vancouver and runs until Friday.
“The Jumbo Valley is still at risk as long as there is a city council waiting to approve a development. It’s time to put this issue to rest once and for all, and getting rid of this so-called city is an important step.”
The BC Government created the municipality in 2013 to support the development of a controversial ski resort has no residents or citizens.
The province appointed the mayor and council, and the municipality has received over $450,000 in grants from the province to support development of the Jumbo Valley.
The project lost its environmental approval from the Province last month after failing to substantially start within a ten-year window.
The case was to have been heard in February 2015.
However, before case was even heard by a judge, the West Kootenay EcoSociety sought, and was granted, an adjournment after receiving an amended response and new evidence from lawyers for the municipality at the eleventh hour.
Reid said the West Kootenay EcoSociety has received support from the West Coast Environmental Law Foundation to fight the case.
The West Kootenay EcoSociety has launched a crowdsourcing page on defendbc.ca to help cover the remaining legal costs.
Reid said the case has ramifications beyond the development of a remote wilderness.
“We are a small non-profit community organization challenging the BC Legislature and the Lieutenant Governor in Council over the use of public resources to support corporate interests,” Reid explained.
“Our case says that local decision making matters.”
The Jumbo Glacier Resort project is a year-round ski resort development in the Jumbo Creek valley, 55 km west of Invermere.
The estimated 104-hectare resort base area was scheduled to consist of a hotel with 6,250 bed units (which includes 750 bed units for staff accommodation), condominium vacation homes, and associated amenities.
The Controlled Recreation Area, which includes areas licenced for ski runs and connecting territory, encompasses approximately 5,925 hectares and includes lift-serviced access to several nearby glaciers at an elevation of up to 3,400 metres.
The case begins Wednesday in Vancouver at the BC Supreme Court. Judah Harrison of Nelson and Jason Gratl of Vancouver represent the West Kootenay EcoSociety.