So there you have it it. The word has come down from the top that Jumbo Glacier Resort is to be incorporated as British Columbia’s newest mountain resort municipality, just 50 kilometres from the District of Invermere and right in the heart of what many consider to be their own personal backyard. And it is — all of us who reside in the beautiful province of British Columbia can essentially consider themselves a stakeholder in this chunk of Crown land that has been the focus of so much contention for so long.
And what a cantakerous bunch we are. Climate change is melting the glaciers — what’s the point of having a glacier-based ski resort when we should be protecting it as a water supply? The valley needs an economic stimulator — Jumbo Glacier Resort has the potential to attract tourists from around the world. Wildlife are already losing enough habitat — we have to stop development so they have somewhere to live! It’s far from a pristine valley — just look at the scars years of logging and mining have left behind. But First Nations claim its of utmost spiritual importance to their already decimated culture which they are trying so hard to revive. But younger generations growing up in the valley need more opportunity and the promise of exciting, well-paid jobs that will entice them to stay and raise their families. And on and on it goes.
Friends sit on opposite sides of the fence, couples are split on the issue, and a community at large that should be working towards solutions on every identifiable issue is divided and rife with conflict, making it near impossible for other projects to be tackled without the old bitterness creeping in and getting in the way of productive, good work.
Jumbo Glacier Resort is less about building a ski resort than it is about competing ideologies and value systems. But in the words of U.S. President Barack Obama in his victory speech: “These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter.”
Keeping this in mind will definitely help us navigate the unchartered waters ahead. Heck, we may even decide as a group of impassioned stakeholders to take a time out and celebrate our freedom to argue — together.