On Tuesday, August 6, 2019, the BC Court of appeal upheld a provincial government decision that determined a proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere was ‘not substantially started’ nearly four years ago.
Environmental groups, including the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society are celebrating the ruling.
East Kootenay environmental group Wildsight, long a proponent of keeping the Jumbo Valley free of future development, has responded to the court ruling.
In a press release, Wildsight’s John Bergenske said that the decision means Jumbo Glacier Resort no longer has valid environmental certificate and the resort cannot be built until re-assessment.
“Wildsight and the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society have spent decades fighting to keep Jumbo Wild. We are thrilled that the court has come to the logical decision that the project was never substantially started and its environmental assessment certificate has expired,” shares Meredith Hamstead of the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society.
“With the resort dead in the water, Jumbo is going to stay wild. Now, it’s time for Qat’muk to be legally recognized,” said Bergenske, Wildsight’s Conservation Director, “and beyond Qat’muk, wildlife need long-term protection in the broader Central Purcell Mountains, all the way from the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy to Glacier National Park.”
This is an important win for the Jumbo Valley and was only possible due to a persistent, collaborative effort of more than two decades by many organizations and individuals passionate about protecting this special place, Bergenske says.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy also put out the following statement on the ruling:
“The BC Court of Appeal’s ruling on August 6th confirms that the Jumbo Glacier Resort project was not substantially started by October 12, 2014, the deadline specified in its environmental assessment certificate (EAC). Pursuant to the Minister’s earlier decision, the certificates is now expired, and the proponent is no longer authorized to construct or operate the proposed project.
“Should the proponent wish to continue development of the project, they must apply for a new valid EAC, starting at the beginning of the EA process. The Environmental Assessment Office would then work with the proponent to determine what work already completed under the expired EAC is still relevant and could be carried over to a new EA. Prior to issuance of an EAC, proponents may conduct preliminary activities or exploratory works requiring provincial authorizations in order to advance their EAC application; however, any provincial authorizations required for development may not be issued until after an EAC is issued.”