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

Ministry denies request for air quality monitoring in Revelstoke

Revelstoke City Council’s request that an air quality monitoring system be re-established… Continue reading

More wildfires discovered near Lumby, Cherryville

Canadian Armed Troops in Okanagan, Mabel Creek blaze creeps towards lake

Naramata firefighters diverted after fires breaches Burns Lake camp

The crew was sent to Vanderhoof after a wildfire reportedly overtook a camp near Burns Lake

UPDATE: Kelowna’s crying judge refuses to pull herself from case

Judge Monica McParland has refused to pull herself off the case.

Okanagan water board seeks mussels funding

Okanagan Basin Water Board sends request to new federal fisheries minister

Armed Troops in Okanagan to help firefighters

Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Vernon Thursday, being deployed to West Kelowna fire

Cool Creek blaze near Princeton growing with “extreme fire behaviour”

The Cool Creek Fire burning 22 km east of Eastgate has merged… Continue reading

UPDATE: BC Wildfire boxes in Summerland blaze

A fire sparked earlier in the evening near Summerland is “completely boxed… Continue reading

New blaze near Summerland highly visible

Provincial crews are responding Friday evening to a new fire west of… Continue reading

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Naramata firefighters diverted after fires breaches Burns Lake camp

The crew was sent to Vanderhoof after a wildfire reportedly overtook a camp near Burns Lake

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

Most Read