For the last decade, a Canadian billionaire developer has sought to build a four-season resort on the sides of Jumbo Mountain amid dazzling glaciers, wildflower meadows in summer, and untracked powder in winter. Thousands of local residents as well as public officials, scientists, First Nations, and local heli-ski operators have never wanted it, and in March 2006, they claimed a local victory.A guest post follows from Doug Pyper, professional photographer, traveler, blogger, storyteller. Residents have been fighting for 20 years against a proposed real estate development, which would be located in the magnificent Jumbo Valley, 55 km west of Invermere in the heart of the Central Purcells. This is the largest un-roaded wilderness in Southern BC, a rare treasure. Citizens argue that land use decisions affecting the Kootenays should be made in the Kootenays, by the people who reside there.
In a near unanimous decision regional district directors put Jumbo plans on a "jumbo" hold to give East Kootenay residents the opportunity to make their voice heard on the future of Jumbo Valley. The overflow crowd at the public meeting erupted into loud cheers and clapping as the Board rejected the motion to fast-track the resort development. . .
The BC Liberal Government has given itself near complete control. It can create a new municipality in the wilderness; a municipality without roads, buildings or people, as long as someone has a resort plan. This is a handy piece of legislation, it includes a provision that allows government to "make exceptions from statutory provisions." They can make up whatever rules they wish and follow them or ignore them.
For over twenty years the people of the Kootenays have fought diligently in opposition to the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort...and for good reason. In reality it is merely a real estate development based on building a ski resort and resort municipality on a shrinking glacier in the pristine wilderness of the Purcell Mountains for the internationally wealthy.
Public opinion polls have shown over and over again that this proposal is not viable environmentally or economically for our region. Yet it seems there are powers and a current provincial government agenda that want to move this project forward nonetheless.
After twenty long years of opposition by people of this region, some clueless MLA by the name of Steve Thomson (Minister of Natural Resource Operations) from Kelowna BC, will make a final and sole decision on this contentious issue. He was elected in 2009 and immediately appointed as Minister (his background...long time orchard owner and recent chair of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce)...to quote a common phrase "no experience or knowledge necessary." How totally bazaar and ridiculously undemocratic!!
Given the overall climate toward selling out the resources and our natural heritage by the current government there is little question what his decision will be.
I hope the 'white shirt and tie' from Kelowna' and the BC LIEberal government are prepared to meet head on with the people of the Kootenays. It'll be a war in the mountains for sure and best they understand the beliefs, dedication and willingness to battle oppression that is, and always has been, the nature of Kootenay people.
I would like to include two wonderful videos here. The first [shown above] by my friend Kevin Shepit from Kimberley, BC (an amazing documentary) and another by Miriam Needoba (Small Town Films, Nelson BC) who documented the recent Jumbo Wild Rally in Nelson. If you need a refresher on the whole issue these two video productions combined will provide it.
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