Letters: Watchful eye on Jumbo Glacier Resort

what’s been brewing while we took a little breather

Dear Editor:

 

The July 21st, 2015 meeting of Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality (JGMRM) received a letter from the Jumbo Glacier Resorts (JGR) and development proponent, Oberto Oberti. It said, “Glacier Resort Ltd. (parent corp. of the proposed JGR) cannot allow the project to be dismissed after having substantially done everything that it was asked to do and was permitted to do up to October 12th, 2014, and it believes that a judicial review (J.R.) will show clearly that the minister did not make a correct decision in declaring the project not substantially started. Glacier’s lawyers will submit a request for a J.R. as soon as the case is prepared.”

That will make the fourth J.R. relevant to the proposed JGR and development. The most current is the West Kootenay Eco-Society challenging the authenticity of the JGMRM.

Mr. Oberti’s letter also stated, “GRL intends to work with minor amendments to the Resort Master Plan and the Master Development Agreement, reducing the size of the project below the thresholds of the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) by moving forward under the All Season Resort Policy (ASRP) as the ASRP does not contain the same substantially started deadline aspect as the EAA.”

In a recent interview with my government contact person in the Mountain Resorts Departement of the MFLRO (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), I learned the following: “There is still some evaluating happening having to do with the latest events for the JGR proposal but we are close to the end. And so far, a scaled-down version has not been submitted. The scaled-down version allows maximum 2,000-bed resort with a maximum of 600 beds for resort guests.”

I asked, “Does that mean 1,400 beds for employees and private ownership like condos, townhouses and private residences?”

The answer was affirmative.

Any resort proposal over 2,000 beds falls within the EAA. The original Jumbo Glacier Resort and development proposal was for a city the size of Nelson, B.C., with 6,200 hectare land base. Now, looking at a nose count of 2,000, we see a place twice as big as Kaslo.

At that July 21st, 2015 JGMRM meeting, council members voted unanimously to give the third and final reading to the Jumbo Official Community Plan (JOCP) and formally adopt it.

“The OCP is now a fact on the ground, one of the few at the moment,” said JGMRM mayor, Greg Deck, adding that “if nothing comes of the proponent’s J.R. petition against Minister Polak’s decision, then I expect the municipality and it OCP and by-laws will be dissolved. If the J.R. is successful, then the OCP is already in place; and if a scaled-down resort proposal ends up going ahead, then we (JGMRM) will do what every municipality does — amend and change our OCP.”

So that’s what’s been brewing while we took a little breather — not at all surprising, actually. The ASRP has a reputation for not being as stringent as the EAA so we should expect the pace to quicken. For Jumbo Wilders, it’s back to the front lines while the government and the proponent continue their marathon of smoke and mirrors that has, thus far, been part of three different political parties and eight different governments.

 

Rowena Eloise

West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild

Argenta

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