On February 19th, the Jumbo Resort Municipality had its inaugural council meeting where the mayor and two councilors were sworn in. Since the municipality’s residents number zero, the only onlookers to this event were the 150 protesters outside Radium’s city hall. Every one of you who have voiced your opposition to the development of a mega-resort in this area are surely feeling the sting of this affront to the democratic process. I let the minister of Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development know this in my question to him in the Legislature on the same day. I pointed out to him that Gilligan’s Island had more residents than Jumbo does. All jests aside, I will not back down and will continue to stand up for a Jumbo wild.
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Debates of the Legislative Assembly
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
JUMBO GLACIER RESORT MUNICIPALITYM. Mungall: After 20 years of consistent local opposition to Jumbo Glacier resort, this government has ignored all democratic principles, created a municipality and appointed a mayor and council without a single resident. Its sole purpose: forcing a mega-resort on the region. Both the UBCM and the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments opposed this fantasy town, and yesterday the West Kootenay EcoSociety filed a judicial review on the constitutionality of this municipality. This is now the second judicial review filed against the Liberal government’s underhanded way of forcing this resort on Kootenay residents. Will the minister admit that he has utterly failed in hearing the will of Kootenay residents and ignored democratic principles? Hon. B. Bennett: I need to correct the member, with all due respect. The regional district of East Kootenay — that’s the local government that is responsible for this area — actually passed a resolution asking the province to create a mountain resort municipality. Creating a municipal structure for a large project like this is not unique in British Columbia. There is a history. Tumbler Ridge was created that way. There was actually a mayor appointed for Tumbler Ridge long before there were residents there. There are at least a dozen communities in our history that have been created around either mines or hydroelectric developments, all for the same reason: to create jobs, to add to the province’s economic viability and to help the regions in which these projects take place. I think it’s interesting, hon. Speaker. This is a perfect way to characterize the opposition compared to this side of the House. We actually believe in socially responsible, environmentally responsible economic development, and they don’t. Interjections. Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. The member has a supplemental. M. Mungall: Jumbo’s unelected council is not having its meeting in Jumbo today. You can’t blame the roads not being plowed, because there are no roads. There is no electricity, no buildings, no garbage pickup, no phones, no chairs. There is no “there” there. There are more people living on Gilligan’s Island than there are in Jumbo. Interjections. M. Mungall: It looks like they want to go for a three-hour tour. Interjections. Mr. Speaker: Members. Continue, Member. M. Mungall: Not only are they not meeting in Jumbo, but they’re not meeting in Invermere, the closest community to this imaginary town, because that community is adamantly opposed to this mega-resort. Will the minister just admit that his peculiar obsession with Jumbo Glacier resort flies in the face of democracy? Hon. B. Bennett: Hon. Speaker, it’s true. I do have an obsession. My obsession for the last 12 years has been to work my tail off to make sure that the people in my region of East Kootenay have a better life, that they have more opportunities. That’s my obsession, and I’m not going to apologize for it. I’m really curious now to know what the Gilligan’s Island mode of economic development is all about, so maybe the member will be able to explain that later. This project has been in the pipeline for 22 years. It’s gone through the Social Credit government and been encouraged. It’s gone through an NDP government and been encouraged by two Premiers, and it’s gone through 12 years of B.C. Liberal government and finally got its environmental certificate, got its master development agreement and got final approval. This is going to mean hundreds of jobs for the Columbia Valley and $450 million in development.