The B.C. government has approved a controversial $450 million ski resort on Jumbo Mountain that was opposed by the Ktunaxa Nation, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and celebrity critics such as former National Hockey League (NHL) star Scott Niedermayer.
Jumbo developer Glacier Resorts Ltd.’s senior vice-president Grant Costello told Business in Vancouver late last year that he was confident that the resort would be approved because he had met every requirement.
More evidence that the Liberals would support the Jumbo proposal was that Liberal MLA Bill Bennett, who represents the nearby East Kootenay riding, has been tweeting to show his support.
“This project has, for over 20 years, divided Kootenay communities,” Bennett said in a statement March 20. “I am grateful for a final decision.”
Glacier Resorts received an environmental assessment certificate for Jumbo Glacier Resort in 2004, which included 195 commitments to mitigate environmental impacts. The resort master plan was approved in 2007.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson will now pursue the establishment of a large wildlife management area to protect grizzly bear habitat.
Glacier’s plan is to make the resort North America's only year-round, glacier-based ski resort, in the Purcell Mountains, 57 km west of Invermere, on the site of an old sawmill. The completed ski resort is expected to have 23 lifts, a 3,000-metre-high gondola and spectacular views.
Opponents such as NDP tourism critic Spencer Herbert are not giving up, however.
“It looks like it could go to the courts, based on what the First Nations [opponents] were saying. I guess time will tell,” Herbert told BIV after the annoucement.