More than two decades after it was first proposed, the Jumbo Glacier Resort has received a nod of approval from the provincial government. The proposed resort would operate year-round thanks to the glacier located on Crown land 55 kilometres from Invermere.
Reaction to the announcement has been swift and mixed. The BC Chamber of Commerce applauded the move, seeing it as a step toward expediting the approval of large-scale projects.
“This project has been reviewed to death,” President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce John Winter said about the 22-year wait for approval by the B.C. government.
“Where major projects are concerned, we very much hope that this is a harbinger of things to come,” commented Winter.
Not everyone has seen the announcement as a move in the right direction. Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy characterized the approval as a surprising and devastating blow to the area.
“People in Kootenay West have written and e-mailed me to say they strongly disagree with building a resort in the Jumbo Valley,” said Conroy. “It doesn’t make sense environmentally or economically.”
In a statement to the press, Conroy claimed that the project’s proponent doesn’t have a financial backer.
“So this project has no support and no money, but the government is determined to try and force it through,” Conroy said, who also remarked that making the announcement in Victoria rather than coming to face the people in the area was very disrespectful.
Alex Atamanenko, Member of Parliament for BC Southern Interior also voiced his dismay at Jumbo’s approval.
“The Liberal government has seen fit to make this decision in spite of years of fighting against the development of Jumbo by communities and individuals,” said the NDP MP.
Not only that, Atamanenko sees this as the wrong time to be starting a project that will put more expense on taxpayers.
“The Jumbo resort is being proposed in a region that already has a dozen ski resorts within 150 kilometres. The proposed access road upgrade is at great taxpayer expense. Climate change is a fact of life.
Why the province chose to make this decision at this time is incomprehensible. Which British Columbians are benefitting from this project?”