To the editor:
On Nov. 15, the citizens of B.C. will exercise their democratic rights and elect representatives to make local decisions and spend taxes on their behalf in all municipalities, that is, except for one: Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality (JGRM), near Invermere.
JGRM has an appointed mayor, two councillors, and an annual budget of over $200,000 (of your money), but no residents or infrastructure. Its single purpose is to enable the development of a massive ski resort in the heart of one of southern B.C.’s last intact wilderness areas and grizzly bear habitats.
The resort municipality was created in 2012 after the B.C. government amended the Local Government Act to make it possible to incorporate resort municipalities in areas without people. This was done because (unlike the B.C. Liberals) the majority of members of the East Kootenay Regional District did not support the project, and in one fell swoop local representative democracy was eliminated.
The ‘mayor’ and ‘councillors’ are political appointees making important land use decisions at odds with the opinions of most local citizens and First Nations people in the area.
Putting aside the wisdom of using taxpayers’ money to subsidize select private companies, destroying wilderness for the sake of low-paying jobs and recreation for the rich, building a ski resort in a region where many languish half-empty and glaciers are shrinking, what does it say about the value of local democracy when the B.C. government can simply create a new town when it disagrees with decisions made at the municipal level?
Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality is an affront to the democratic traditions of our country.