Defend wilderness: Keep Jumbo Wild!
- By: David Reid
- Reads: 59
New resort town threatens grizzlies
A proposal for a new resort town in the East Kootenays threatens core habitat for grizzlies and other endangered species.
The BC Provincial Government is expected to make a decision soon on creating a new city in order to allow the creation of a mega-resort in the heart of the Purcells.
Update: West Kootenay EcoSociety has filed a legal action to stop the Jumbo Resort Municipality in BC Supreme Court! Read more...
What's at stake?
The Jumbo Valley is a rare treasure, ecologically viable despite past and present recreation and industry activity. Currently, no all-season roads penetrate the valley, and there is no permanent development. It is nestled in the Central Purcell Mountains, which represent the largest non-roaded wilderness in Southern BC and are part of the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Conservation area. The Purcells are vital habitat for many plants and animals including wide-ranging species like grizzly bear, mountain goat, wolverine and mountain caribou.
Recently published research found that the development would result in the local loss of grizzly bears and would reduce the likelihood that the regional population can survive into the future.
- A network of 23 ski lifts crisscrossing 4 glaciers
- Over 6,500 bed units including over 1300 private residences
- Shopping malls, a place of worship, night clubs, restaurants – all the trappings of a full-fledged town about the size of Nelson, BC
- Convert 6,000+ hectares of public land into a year-round, permanent, European style resort.
The Jumbo Glacier Resort Proposal has been a source of intense public controversy since it was first proposed in 1991. This real estate development would create a small city in the heart of the magnificent Jumbo Valley. The new year-round resort would be 55kms west of Invermere in the heart of the Purcell Range and adjacent to the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy in British Columbia.
In 2010, the Ktunaxa Nation sent 50 delegates to Victoria in order to make the Qat’Muk Declaration. The Declaration states that the Jumbo Valley is the spiritual home of the grizzly bear spirit, and it establishes a permanent wildlife refuge in the Valley in accordance with its crucial part in Ktunaxa culture. The Ktunaxa Nation and the Sinixt Nation consider the Jumbo Valley area part of their traditional unceded territory, and both groups claim rights and title to the land.
In May 2012, the BC Legislature made changes to the Local Government Act to allow the creation of Mountain Resort Municipalities with no residents or infrastructure. On Nov 20, 2012, the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development announced an Order in Council that created the municipality and appointed a mayor, two councillors, and a CEO. The province dedicated over $200,000 in BC taxpayer money to support the new municipality, even though there are no residents and the only beneficiary of the spending is the proposed resort developer.
- There are 13 existing ski resorts within a 3 hour driving distance from the Jumbo area. None operate at capacity
- The Sinixt and Ktunaxa Nations have registered opposition to the project as a result of global warming, the glaciers are retreating and are predicted to be entirely melted within 4 decades
- Scott and Rob Niedermayer of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks have donated their time as well as jerseys, hats, and hockey sticks to support the “Keep Jumbo Wild” campaign
- 91% of 5,839 individual responses to the Environmental Assessment Office’s call for input on the Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal were against it. (Environmental Assessment Office Website)
- The Sierra Club and the David Suzuki Foundation are among the many organizations that have opposed this destructive resort.
What can you do?
Contact your local MLA, the Minister of Natural Resource Operations, the Minister of Environment, and Premier Christy Clark. Tell them the Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal is unsustainable and will damage the glaciers, watershed and wildlife of the Jumbo Valley and beyond. It’s time to end this destructive pipe-dream once and for all.
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