On November 15th, the citizens of B.C. will elect representatives to make local decisions and spend taxes on their behalf. In all municipalities, that is, except for one: Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality (JGRM). JGRM and its appointed mayor and two counsellors cost taxpayers over $200,000 per year, but has no residents or infrastructure.
Its single purpose is to enable a private development (Jumbo Glacier Resort). JGRM was created in 2012 after the B.C. government amended the Local Government Act to make it possible to incorporate resort municipalities in areas without people, since (unlike the BC Liberals) the majority of members of the East Kootenay Regional District did not support the project. In one fell swoop, local representative democracy was eliminated.
Putting aside the wisdom of using taxpayers’ money to subsidize select private companies; destroying wilderness for the sake of low-paying jobs and recreation for the rich; building a ski resort in a region where many languish half-empty and glaciers are shrinking — what does it say about the value of local democracy when the B.C. government can simply create a new town when it disagrees with decisions made at the municipal level? JGRM is an affront to the democratic traditions of our country.
Paul Mick, MD MPH FRCSC