Outdoor club appeals to B.C. premier

Editor’s note: The following letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark was copied to The Valley Echo for publication.

Dear Premier Clark:

 

Our organization, the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC (FMCBC), is a province-wide organization representing close to 5,000 individuals from 33 outdoor clubs across B.C.

Our membership is comprised of non-motorized, backcountry recreationists including hikers, mountaineers, rock climbers, backcountry skiers, snowshoers, kayakers, canoeists, trail runners and mountain bikers. For over four decades, the FMCBC has worked on behalf of this community to maintain and improve access to quality, non-motorized, backcountry recreation for both our members and the general public to enjoy.

Over the past two decades, our members and the thousands of people who live and recreate in the Kootenay region have been opposed to a commercial ski resort being developed in the Jumbo Valley.

In addition to concerns regarding the sustainability of the project and maintaining the important wildlife corridors through the area, the FMCBC has two major concerns with the proposed development which would directly impact the community we

represent:

1. In its current state, the Jumbo Valley and surrounding peaks are located in a relatively wild and pristine mountainous range which draws backcountry recreation visitors from across B.C. and the world. Development of a commercial ski resort would permanently damage the ecology of the Jumbo Valley resulting in a significant reduction in the quality of the area for non-motorized, backcountry recreation. If the Jumbo area is developed into a commercial ski resort area, the wilderness value of the area will be lost forever.

2. Backcountry recreationists utilize public lands for much of their activities. The proposed resort would take currently public lands and designate them as a Controlled Recreation Area (CRA) which would be available only to a few, paying users. This will result in reduced public access which is of major concern to the FMCBC and our members who strive to maintain and increase public access to the backcountry. This removal of public lands into CRA’s has happened with all commercial ski developments and causes persistent problems for the commercial operator and the public recreationists.

If substantial construction of the resort has not begun by October 12th, 2014, the Jumbo Glacier Resort’s environmental assessment certificate will expire. To this point, very little construction has begun and we see this is an opportunity to instead designate the Jumbo Pass, Glacier and Valley areas as a wilderness area where wildlife can migrate through and take refuge, biodiversity can be protected and non-motorized, low-impact, backcountry recreation, both public and commercial, can take place. These recreation and conservation values are in a declining supply provincially and worldwide and are worthwhile protecting for future generations to enjoy.

We encourage this government to deny renewal of Jumbo Glacier Resort’s environmental assessment certificate when it expires and to dissolve the Jumbo Resort Municipality on the basis that it is a municipality without citizens and Jumbo Glacier Resorts has not begun substantial construction of the proposed ski resort.

Please receive this letter as our official statement of opposition to the proposed Jumbo Glacier resort development and recommendation that the project be denied further support from the province.

Yours Sincerely,

Bob St. John

President, Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC

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