I have always said that local people should have control over decisions made on their land base. I have always believed that tremendous wisdom lives within the communities that will be affected, and that the powers in faraway places will never fully understand the impacts of the decisions they are making.
And a decade in provincial politics has not changed my belief. At no time have I seen the removal of local decision-making result in better decisions on the land.
The most obvious ongoing example is the imposition of land use decisions by the BC Liberals in Jumbo. The Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal has been opposed by local residents from the very start. At every opportunity, the people in the region have spoken out loud and clear. And the Ktunaxa Nation have said with absolute clarity that they will not support the development in a place they consider to be sacred.
When I was mayor of Golden, the community developed Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. But the first thing we did was make sure that we had the support of the residents and that we had a credible investor.
Jumbo Glacier Resort has no investor. Despite having the full force of the BC Liberals behind it, no investor has been convinced to fund this project.
But that hasn’t stopped the BC Liberals from giving away control of 6,000 hectares of public land and giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money to run a municipality with no buildings, no services and no people. The latest twist in the Jumbo saga is that the Environmental Assessment Office has now ruled that the two hastily laid concrete pads have been placed in an avalanche zone, which contravenes one of the conditions of the Environmental Assessment Certificate. These two concrete pads represented the only construction of the resort.
Norm Macdonald is the NDP MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke. Contact him at 1-866-870-4188 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.