Developer seeks to overturn Jumbo resort decision

Glacier Resort Ltd seeks to quash ‘not substantially started’ ruling from former cabinet minister

The ongoing saga of attempts to build a year-round resort at a glacier in southern B.C. is back in the courts as the developer is seeking to quash a decision from the provincial government that ground the project to a halt.

In 2015, the provincial government determined that the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort was not ‘substantially started’, which led to the expiration of an Environmental Assessment Certificate — a specialized permit that the proponent needs in order to resume the development.

The EAC expired after then-Environment Minister Mary Polak determined enough work hadn’t been completed, however, the proponents — Glacier Resorts Ltd —say it was due to factors beyond their control.

In their petition to the court, Glacier Resorts Ltd says a Master Development Plan wasn’t approved until 2012 — five years after the initial term of the EAC and three years into an extension period. The proponent also complained that the province didn’t create a municipality — which regulates land use planning through zoning — until that same year.

Construction was also limited due to short windows within the summer which was hampered by the proposed resort’s remote location, according to the court filing.

The project proposes a 5,500 bed units over a 110 hectare resort base area with ski lift access to four glaicers 53 kilometres west of Invermere.

The matter is being heard out of Vancouver Supreme Court in front of Justice Carla Forth over the next three days.

Ktunaxa opposition

There are two parallel issues when it comes to the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort.

In addition to the substantially started designation, there’s also opposition from local Indigenous and environmental groups.

The Ktunaxa Nation Council took the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada, arguing that the province did not adequately provide appropriate consultation before approving the Master Development Plan.

READ: Supreme Court of Canada dismisses Ktunaxa Jumbo resort appeal

Additionally, the Ktunaxa argued that the the location of the proposed ski resort sits in a spiritually sensitive area known as Qat’muk that is home to the Grizzly Bear Spirit, which serves as a source of guidance and strength.

Canada’s highest court unanimously agreed that the province had adequately consulted with the Ktunaxa during the Master Development Plan process, however, two justices dissented on the religious freedom aspect after determining religious freedom would be violated with the construction of a resort.

Glacier Resorts look to quash substantially started decision

At the time the substantially started decision was made, completed work included the pouring of concrete slabs for a day lodge and service building at the base of the resort.

In the petition to quash the decision, the proponents argued that the provincial government imposed a standard that was impossible to obtain, given regulatory constraints.

The filing also accused Minister Polak of bias, given her friendship with Kathryn Teneese, the chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council.

A response filed by the provincial government disagreed with Glacier Resorts’ assessment.

“While it is evident that Glacier has faced a number of significant challenges, especially in terms of plans and permitting, the jurisprudence of this Court is clear that ‘substantially started’ is to be assessed with reference to the construction of the physical works,” reads the response filed by lawyers representing the Ministry of Environment. “In this case, very little physical progress has been made towards the project.”

The proposed resort has also generated opposition from local environmental groups, such as Wildsight, who applied as interveners to the case earlier this month.

The construction of a resort would cause widespread harm to the environment and local communities, according to a press release issued by Wildsight.

Ecojustice is representing Wildsight and the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society’s intervener positions in the case.

“If built, the Jumbo Glacier Resort would fragment a critical section of one of North America’s most important wildlife corridors,” says Robyn Duncan, the executive director for Wildsight. “Grizzlies depend on this connected habitat to maintain healthy populations regionally and even continentally.”

Just Posted

Wilson M. Beck Charity Golf Tournament in Kelowna benefiting YMCA of Okanagan

The tournament is sold out with 144 golfers swinging for the cause

Kelowna baseballers invited to league all-star game

The 2019 West Coast League All-Star Game will have two players from the Kelowna Falcons

Casa Loma residents petition to halt proposed Blackmun Bay project

West Kelowna City Council grants second reading for what would be the city’s largest development

Lakestone Grand Opening set for this weekend in Lake Country

MP Stephen Fuhr, MLA Norm Letnick and Mayor James Baker will all speak at the event

West Kelowna RCMP search witnesses in assault

A man was attacked in the early morning on July 16

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Okanagan College campus flies Syilx flag

The Okanagan Nation Alliance flag was raised at a ceremony at Vernon campus on July 16

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

Summerland clinic will be closed on August long weekend

Medical office assistant needed at Rosedale Medical Clinic

Driver who killed Shuswap motorcyclist receives absolute discharge

Chase family speechless following decision by BC Review Board

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Comedian Gerry Dee ready to lighten things up at BC Hockey Hall of Fame

Canadian actor and stand-up comedian Gerry Dee is hosting the event in Penticton

Most Read