Anti-Jumbo protesters took to the streets of Invermere Wednesday evening to rally support for their cause.
Almost 200 enthusiastic protesters, led by Jumbo Creek Conservation Society member Bob Campsall, gathered at the Windermere Community Hall in Invermere before beginning their march down 7th Ave. Armed with signs, banners and a very large fake Grizzly bear the enthusiastic group let their message be known.
“Wild places are precious and they’re worth fighting for,” said Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA, Norm Macdonald. “We love the land and we’re going to look after it.”
Macdonald is publicly opposed to the development of Jumbo Glacier Resort, and was one of the many speakers who took part in the evening of inspiration at the community centre that followed the lively protest.
Kicking off the long list of guest speakers was Campsall, whose charismatic comments had the large audience breaking out in laughter and later huge applause. Campsall has been a long time anti-Jumbo supporter, and was shocked that a decision had been made by the government on the Jumbo Resort proposal without even a single public hearing.
“There has never been a public hearing about Jumbo,” said Campsall. “Did you know that? That has to be the most maddening thing I’ve ever heard.”
Also in attendance was Executive Director and Conservations Program Director of Wildsight John Bergenske. Bergenske took to the stage and assured the gathering of protesters that their fight has not been for nothing, and they will indeed halt the development of Jumbo.
“This is far from over, we have the power to make sure Jumbo stays wild,” said Bergenske. “In the end it’s going to fail but we don’t want to see the land desecrated in the meantime.”
Representing the Akisqnuk First Nation, who believe the Jumbo Valley is the home of the spirit of the Grizzly bear and is a vital part of Ktunaxa culture, was councillor Samantha Sam. Sam was very appreciative of the large number of people that showed up in support and thanked all those in attendance on behalf of the Akisqnuk First Nation.
“We would like to express our appreciation for the diligence of all the groups and individuals here,” said Sam. “Thank you very much for the continued support.”
Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Electoral Area G Director Gerry Wilkie also made a brief appearance on stage. Stressing the point that although Jumbo Glacier Resort has received approval of their master development agreement there are still a few hurdles they must clear in order to get the resort off the ground.
“The important thing right now is nothing has changed,” said Wilkie. “The important thing is that all of us keep up the fight.”
In order for Jumbo Glacier Resort to continue with their development of the Jumbo Valley they must successfully have the area rezoned via the RDEK, by having the area annexed for management by a nearby municipality, or by classifying Jumbo as a mountain resort municipality.