“Substantially started” decision for Jumbo Glacier Resort delayed

The Environmental Assessment Office is looking into allegations that the ski resort's day lodge in located in a dangerous avalanche path.

The Environment Assessment Office has delayed a decision on Jumbo Glacier Resort's substantial start due to concerns that the day lodge is located in a dangerous avalanche path.

The province’s decision whether Jumbo Glacier Resort was substantially started by the potential expiry date of its Environmental Assessment Certificate has been delayed as the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is requesting additional information on the location of Jumbo Glacier Resort’s day lodge.

In the letter dated December 11th, 2014 and addressed to Glacier Resorts Ltd. president Oberto Oberti, Manager of Policy and Compliance Autumn Cousins writes: “based on the recent complaints and information reviewed through compliance oversight, Environmental Assessment Office Compliance and Enforcement is assessing whether the Day Lodge and service building locations meet the requirements of condition 36.”

Condition 36 of the Environmental Assessment Certificate for the Jumbo Glacier Resort project states that “Residential and commercial structures will be located completely outside the avalanche hazard area.”

As previously reported in The Pioneer, footage and information supplied by RK Heliski suggesting the foundation for the resort’s day lodge was located in the path of a Class 4 avalanched zone were the basis for a NDP attack against Environment Minister Mary Polak in the legislature on November 4th.

In the letter, Ms. Cousins references a report indicating that larger avalanches  or avalanches with irregular flow direction “could hit the lodge.” As a result, the report concludes avalanche control by explosives must be the method combined with support by trained personnel and a snow safety plan.

The letter goes on to say that “given the prolixity of the building sites to historical avalanche paths,” the Environmental Assessment Office is requiring the following:

• An engineering avalanche risk evaluation, including a zoning plan, consistent with the Canadian Avalanche Association Guidelines is necessary to ensure the locations of any commercial and residential buildings are compliant with condition 36.

• That zoning plans be conducted by a professional engineer (P.Eng.) in good standing with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia in addition to professional member status with the Canadian Avalanche Association.

Ms. Cousins concludes the letter stating that “while EAO is currently determining if the Day Lodge and service building locations are compliant with condition 36, Glacier Resorts Ltd is responsible for ensuring that ‘all commercial and residential buildings are completely outside of the avalanche hazard area’.”

The letter is posted on the provincial government’s website and can be read in full here: http://goo.gl/aXoSI5

Once Compliance and Enforcement have concluded Glacier Resort’s compliance status of condition 36, the Environmental Assessment Office’s finalized substantial start report will be provided to Polak, who will make the “substantially started” decision.

Ms. Cousins confirmed with The Pioneer that the letter was emailed this morning (December 12th).