On June 18th, the B.C. government, by way of our Minister of Environment Mary Polak, announced that the Jumbo Glacier Resort (JGR) has not made a “substantial start.”
The Jumbo Wild public is elated thinking Mary’s announcement means Jumbo will be wild forever. Yet the government is only half of the equation.
I talked with my government contact person in the Mountain Resort Branch of the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. That office specifically handles the Master Development Agreement, which, when issued in 2010, allowed JGR to put a shovel in the ground and work toward their “substantial start” to be achieved by October 12th, 2014.
The Resort Development Branch “had no forewarning about the announcement and were equally surprised. The announcement implies many things. All this will take some time to figure out. There is much interest in what happens next,” my contact said.
It is the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) which takes care of compliance, or in this case, non-compliance. I learned, “First the JGR people will meet with the EAO and then they’ll know better in which direction to head. It is possible that they’ll simply walk away.”
We do recall that when the recent avalanche report came in, the EAO offered a reprieve to JGR in order to move the foundations out of the non-compliance zone. Thus far, there there has been no report that that they have accepted that offer. And, at the time when the EAO announced the non-compliance conclusion, Thomas Oberti (son of Oberto, in whose portfolio is the JGR) was quoted in the Calgary Herald as, “We knew we were putting the foundations in avalanche zones.”
So the plot thickens as the old saying goes.
West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild