While it’s still early, the Columbia Valley RCMP aren’t taking any chances when it comes to Jumbo Resort opposition.
After the B.C. government announced its approval of a master development agreement for the controversial Jumbo ski resort Tuesday, Columbia Valley RCMP Staff Sgt. Marko Shehovac says that he fully expects some sort of action by those opposed to the resort.
“I expect protests down the road — that’s a given,” Shehovac said. “I have to prepare for all different types of scenarios.”
When one thinks of Jumbo opposition, many will be reminded of a blockade on Farnham Creek road in 2008 by Jumbo Wild supporters. While Shehovac doesn’t anticipate these kinds of actions this time around, he says he has been working on an operational plan for all eventualities, a plan that could include involving other detachments in case more manpower is needed.
“I certainly hope it doesn’t go the way (Farnham Creek) did,” Shehovac said. “I think a lot of the people that are involved with this issue, I think they are passionate about what they believe in, but from the people I’ve heard from I didn’t get that kind of militancy.”
The Farnham blockade lasted about two months, and resulted in a halt of construction, and Shehovac says the best way to avoid a similar situation is to keep in constant communication with those involved with the issue.
“My biggest thing is to keep communication open through all the parties, so that if we do have to go to a protest, they should know us by then… so that it’s not ‘hey, there’s a policeman,’ but rather ‘hey, there’s Marko.’ We realize the passion that is involved with it, we realize the sensitivity involved, and our thing is we just hope that the leaders that are opposing this have cool heads and want to respect others’ rights, and that no harm comes to anyone.”