COLUMBIA VALLEY — The Ktunaxa Nation is continuing to put pressure on the provincial government to reject the proposal to build a large-scale ski resort on the Jumbo glacier as the first anniversary of the Qat’muk Declaration passes.
In the Columbia Valley, members of the first nation were set to celebrate the declaration’s anniversary at the Akisqnuk band hall November 15, where several announcements related to the Ktunaxa’s opposition to the Jumbo Glacier Resort were expected to be made.
The Ktunaxa staged another anti-Jumbo event at the B.C. Legislature on the 15th, with speakers from the Ktunaxa Leadership, the Official Opposition, and an appearance from Canadian hockey player, Olympic gold medallist and Stanley Cup winner Scott Niedermayer.
The Qat’muk Declaration, presented to the legislature at this time last year, outlines what the first nation feels are appropriate uses of the Jumbo Glacier area — or Qat’muk (pronounced “got-mook”), as it’s known to the Ktunaxa.
The area is a sacred space for the Ktunaxa. According to a release from the group, it’s “where the Grizzly Bear Spirit was born, goes to heal itself, and returns to the spirit world. The Grizzly Bear Spirit is an important source of guidance, strength, protection and spirituality for the Ktunaxa.”
Though the two events had not taken place at press time, The Valley Echo has obtained one study set to be released by the group during the day.
The Schaffer Report, compiled for the Ktunaxa by Simon Fraser economics professor Dr. Marvin Schaffer, argues “there is no analysis or estimates to support the conclusion… that the project is in the public interest because of the economic benefits it offers.”
Schaffer studied economic benefit information the provincial Environmental Assessment Office used in its review of the project. The report calls employment impacts from Jumbo “overly optimistic,” and suggests the resort would “divert” tourists from other ski venues in the province.
“Many of the new jobs would be filled by in-migrants as the ski industry already has to recruit international workers from abroad,” the report adds. “There would be costs for government providing the services the in-migrants and the project itself would require.”
The report is also critical of the Environmental Assessment Office’s market forcasts for the resort, which it says are outdated and don’t reflect current skier and visitor data, including the lower number of American and Japanese ski tourists visiting the province at the current time.
The full report will be made public at qatmuk.com.