Developer seeks to overturn Jumbo resort decision

Glacier Resort Ltd seeks to quash ‘not substantially started’ ruling from former cabinet minister

The ongoing saga of attempts to build a year-round resort at a glacier in southern B.C. is back in the courts as the developer is seeking to quash a decision from the provincial government that ground the project to a halt.

In 2015, the provincial government determined that the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort was not ‘substantially started’, which led to the expiration of an Environmental Assessment Certificate — a specialized permit that the proponent needs in order to resume the development.

The EAC expired after then-Environment Minister Mary Polak determined enough work hadn’t been completed, however, the proponents — Glacier Resorts Ltd —say it was due to factors beyond their control.

In their petition to the court, Glacier Resorts Ltd says a Master Development Plan wasn’t approved until 2012 — five years after the initial term of the EAC and three years into an extension period. The proponent also complained that the province didn’t create a municipality — which regulates land use planning through zoning — until that same year.

Construction was also limited due to short windows within the summer which was hampered by the proposed resort’s remote location, according to the court filing.

The project proposes a 5,500 bed units over a 110 hectare resort base area with ski lift access to four glaicers 53 kilometres west of Invermere.

The matter is being heard out of Vancouver Supreme Court in front of Justice Carla Forth over the next three days.

Ktunaxa opposition

There are two parallel issues when it comes to the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort.

In addition to the substantially started designation, there’s also opposition from local Indigenous and environmental groups.

The Ktunaxa Nation Council took the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada, arguing that the province did not adequately provide appropriate consultation before approving the Master Development Plan.

READ: Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Ktunaxa Jumbo resort appeal

Additionally, the Ktunaxa argued that the the location of the proposed ski resort sits in a spiritually sensitive area known as Qat’muk that is home to the Grizzly Bear Spirit, which serves as a source of guidance and strength.

Canada’s highest court unanimously agreed that the province had adequately consulted with the Ktunaxa during the Master Development Plan process, however, two justices dissented on the religious freedom aspect after determining religious freedom would be violated with the construction of a resort.

Glacier Resorts look to quash substantially started decision

At the time the substantially started decision was made, completed work included the pouring of concrete slabs for a day lodge and service building at the base of the resort.

In the petition to quash the decision, the proponents argued that the provincial government imposed a standard that was impossible to obtain, given regulatory constraints.

The filing also accused Minister Polak of bias, given her friendship with Kathryn Teneese, the chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council.

A response filed by the provincial government disagreed with Glacier Resorts’ assessment.

“While it is evident that Glacier has faced a number of significant challenges, especially in terms of plans and permitting, the jurisprudence of this Court is clear that ‘substantially started’ is to be assessed with reference to the construction of the physical works,” reads the response filed by lawyers representing the Ministry of Environment. “In this case, very little physical progress has been made towards the project.”

The proposed resort has also generated opposition from local environmental groups, such as Wildsight, who applied as interveners to the case earlier this month.

The construction of a resort would cause widespread harm to the environment and local communities, according to a press release issued by Wildsight.

Ecojustice is representing Wildsight and the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society’s intervener positions in the case.

“If built, the Jumbo Glacier Resort would fragment a critical section of one of North America’s most important wildlife corridors,” says Robyn Duncan, the executive director for Wildsight. “Grizzlies depend on this connected habitat to maintain healthy populations regionally and even continentally.”

Just Posted

2019 Budget: Revelstoke city staff recommending a five per cent property tax increase

Additional options that would expand services total another six per cent

Liam’s Lowdown: My housing story

I always ask for people’s housing situation in Revelstoke, so I thought… Continue reading

Stoked on science: Resolve for your resolutions

Jade Harvey Guest columnist As we progress further into January and the… Continue reading

Super blood wolf moon fills Okanagan skies, to photographers’ delight

Photographers had a rare chance Sunday to capture a rare lunar eclipse

Revelstoke Secondary School enthralls the audience with Trap

With a twist ending that had audience members laughing, perhaps uncomfortably, the… Continue reading

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Heavy snowfall expected for Coquihalla, Okanagan valley

Coquihalla highway, the Connector, and Highway 3, from Princeton to Allison Pass are getting snow.

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Video: Runaway Coquihalla dog returned to owner

Archer, the dog found roaming along Coq. Hwy. on Jan. 19, has been reunited with owner

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Province proposes Shuswap cannabis retail outlet

BC Liquor Distribution Branch pursues new store at Salmon Arm SmartCentres site

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Most Read