Jumbo Concern Continues

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Michelle delivers your letters to the Minister of Natural Resource Operations

 

 

Nelson Star, Nov 26, 2010

“Ouch! This cold snap bites,” I said as I walk out my door the other day. “Jack Frost is chowing down on my nose rather than merely nipping at it.” You’d think that after growing up on the Prairies with -40°C winters, I’d be a pro at cold spells. Nope. After living here for awhile, I discovered how much I love our generally milder weather and loathe the plummeting temperatures.

I also discovered that in my heart of hearts I am a mountain-girl. I like the land going up, with all the hidden gem spots in between the giant rocks. The water, the forests, beaches, bowls, caverns… they all make up this amazing part of the world that attracts people from all walks of life. It is immensely inspiring. It is jumbo-sized incredible. And I like that most of our natural places are wild. So not surprisingly, I support Jumbo wild.

Over the last few months, I have received hundreds of letters asking the provincial government to reject the proposal for Jumbo Glacier Resort (JGR). Last week, representatives of the Ktunaxa Nation trekked to Victoria to give the provincial government the Qat’muk Declaration. This was a formal presentation of the Ktunaxa’s opposition to JGR. Along with the Ktunaxa, business owners, environmentalists, retirees, students, and so many more have told me that they don’t want the BC Liberal Government to make a “jumbo mistake.”

Just in case the new Minister for Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thompson, wasn’t sure about the extent of local opposition, I wanted to tell him directly. I also had some questions for him. Just a few hours before writing this, I got off the phone with the Minister who is now in charge of the approval process for JGR. Here is what he said:

All the local input goes into a “decision-matrix” alongside research data, First Nations consultation, the approved Environmental Assessment, and an economic impact analysis. On the last component of the “decision matrix,” the Minister did not know how this was conducted and what kind of analysis was done. As a result, I will be speaking with the Ministry staff person who does because this is a critical point. The proponents contend that JGR will create jobs and be beneficial. No doubt it will create jobs, but the benefits are uncertain if we don’t know how it will impact existing resorts, small recreational businesses, local wages, and the natural environment for long term sustainability of our local tourism industry.

For the most part the Minister was evasive and vague. Since he is new to this recently created (and odd) Ministry, I cut him some slack for his limited knowledge of the issue. However, I thought he trivialized the opposition, and it was also telling that he didn’t acknowledge the importance of recognition and reconciliation with First Nations within the process of assessing JGR.

“Steve,” I said, “when will you be announcing your decision?” He replied that they are completing two pieces, and once those are done, a decision will be made. Those pieces are a recent grizzly bear study done by Dr. Michael Proctor and First Nations “consultation.” So I asked “where are these pieces at in terms of completion?” “Close,” he said, “In a few months.”

This winter, stay tuned for both weather and Jumbo updates.