Mountain municipality left out of Jumbo court battle

The B.C. Supreme Court decided not to give the Jumbo Resort respondent status in the Ktunaxa First Nation's judicial review

The B.C. Supreme Court decided earlier this week not to give the Mountain Resort Municipality of Jumbo Glacier respondent status in the Ktunaxa First Nation’s judicial review of Jumbo Glacier Resort.

The ruling, by B.C. Supreme Court master Grant Taylor, came on Wednesday, October 23rd and said the matter is between the province and the First Nation.

The application for judicial review argues that the resort infringes on an area the Ktunaxa consider sacred territory, known as Qat’muk, and impacts traditional religious activities involving grizzly bear spirits. The First Nation has also asked for a temporary injunction to stop construction until a ruling on the judicial review is made and for a permanent injunction to stop any development in Qat’muk.

The province gave approval to Jumbo Glacier Resort in March 2012 and then created Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality in November 2012. The Ktunaxa filed the application for judicial review in July 2012.

“We instructed our legal counsel to argue against their (Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality) participation,” Ktunaxa council chair Kathryn Teneese said.

“Our legal challenge is against the province’s decision.”

The municipality was created as a result of that decision, pointed out Ms. Teneese

“It’s pretty difficult to be a respondent in a decision it is part of,” she said.

The municipality had argued it had direct interest in the matter.

“We’re disappointed in the decision,” said Jumbo mayor Greg Deck, after the Supreme Court ruling not to let the municipality be a respondent was made. “We do think that we have an interest that is distinct from that of the (resort) proponent (Glacier Resorts Ltd.) and the province. But we also recognize that our three interests are closely aligned and that our fundamental concerns will be addressed by the other two respondents.”

In his ruling, Mr. Taylor said “in the event the petition is successful such that an interim or permanent injunction is granted, the municipality would only suffer, in the vernacular, collateral damage, and thus it is not convenient to determine the issues in this proceeding as against the municipality as a party.”

The arguments are scheduled to be heard in court starting on January 6th, 2014, likely in Cranbrook.

 

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