Province Clears Controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort in the Kootenays


Read this report from on the Clark Government’s approval of the controversial, billion-dollar Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal in the Kootenays.(March 20, 2012)

The B.C. government has approved development of the controversial Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort, the country’s first year-round glacier-based ski resort.

The $1-billion development 57 kilometres west of Invermere, B.C., was first proposed — and cautiously endorsed by NDP Premier Mike Harcourt — in the early 1990s.

Since then, the project had passed all necessary regulatory and environmental hurdles, but stalled on final provincial approval.

On Tuesday morning, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced that final obstacle had been cleared and the ski resort was approved by the province.

“After more than 20 years of comprehensive and exhaustive reviews, it was time to make a decision. I approved Jumbo Glacier Resort’s master development agreement after reviewing all of the relevant documentation, and meeting with both First Nations and the proponent,” said Thomson in a statement.

The province says the project will attract $900 million in investment and create 750 permanent jobs…

The resort plan has divided residents in the Kootenays. A poll commissioned in 2008 found the project lacked public support, but proponents welcome the jobs and tourists the project will bring to the region.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, a longtime supporter of the Jumbo project, said he’s relieved to see the provincial government finally make a decision.

“This project has, for over 20 years, divided Kootenay communities. I am grateful for a final decision,” said Bennett in a written statement on Tuesday. “No matter which side of the debate you’re on, the majority of folks in the East Kootenay will be relieved by the certainty.”

Opposition to the news came quickly. Even before the official announcement was made, the NDP was highly critical of the decision.

“People in the Columbia Valley have been absolutely clear. They feel strongly that building a resort in this area does not make sense,” said Columbia River-Revelstoke NDP MLA Norm MacDonald in a statement released Tuesday morning.

“It doesn’t make sense environmentally or economically, and putting the B.C. Liberal stamp of approval on it doesn’t change a thing.”

NDP Leader Adrian Dix believes approving the resort is the wrong choice.

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