If political betting were the rage in Canada that it is in some Commonwealth countries, the odds of Jumbo Glacier Resort popping up as an issue in any and all Columbia Valley elections would be so lopsided it wouldn’t be worth a trip to the bookmaker.
No matter what, Jumbo always comes up.
In Invermere, the resort question popped up at a recent district council meeting, when retiring councillor Bob Campsall confronted his council colleague (and district mayoral candidate) Al Miller about comments he’d made to a reporter for the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ newsletter some weeks earlier.
“We think ski tourism has huge potential for Invermere, but the process is taking far too long,” said Miller, who pointed to the resort as a project the provincial government could help out with.
Campsall brought the comments up, he said, to clarify they were made on Miller’s own behalf (which they were), not as the official views of the district.
It may be worth noting, however, that the outgoing councillor has since taken to wearing a Gerry Taft button.
Whether a calculated election move or not, the discussion brings up a bigger issue: does it matter how any of our municipal politicians feel about Jumbo?
In Radium, mayor Dee Conklin has said it doesn’t — given the decision is “out of our hands” and will, probably, barring another cabinet shuffle, be made by the current Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson.
Depending on how you look at it, that’s either the heart of the issue, or not the point at all.
Whether a candidate supports the resort or not — and much, much more importantly, why they do or don’t — isn’t a bad way to gauge where he or she might stand on other issues, and how those stances align with your own.
We have all candidates forums and questionnaires in the paper not just for the fun of it, but because the more views from our candidates that we have, the easier it is to guess what else they might do in all the other situations that crop up at a council table.
But that’s what the Jumbo question is to an election like this: part of the sample, not the whole equation.
—The Valley Echo