Jumbo project hits major roadblock`

Environmental Assessment Certificate expires as minister determines project is not substantially started.

Environment Minister Mary Polak has determined that the Jumbo Glacier Resort project has not been substantially started.

“As a result, the environmental assessment certificate has expired and Glacier Resorts Ltd. cannot proceed with developing this project unless a new certificate is obtained,” stated a news release from the Ministry of Environment.

The Environmental Assessment Act requires that all approved projects must be substantially started within the time limit set out in the certificate or the certificate expires.

Due to the Polak’s determination that the project is not substantially started, the certificate expires. In the case of Jumbo Glacier Resort, the minister found that the physical activities undertaken on the various components did not meet the threshold of a substantially-started project.

Under consideration were factors such as:

• Submissions from Glacier Resorts Ltd., the Ktunaxa Nation Council, and the Shuswap Indian Band

• Guidance from the ourt decision in Taku River Tlingit First Nation v. British Columbia

• The Environmental Assessment Office’s substantially started determination report

• Her own observations from a visit to the Jumbo Glacier Resort project site on Oct. 2014

• Information submitted by the Ktunaxa Nation Council and the Shuswap Indian Band because the project is located in their asserted traditional territories.

“We are overjoyed with the province’s decision,” said Robyn Duncan of Wildsight. “This is the only reasonable outcome for this beleaguered project.”

Joe Foy, national campaign director with the Wilderness Committee, said the decision was good news.

“We knew this project was already on thin ice,” Foy said. “The BC government must now take steps to ensure that the Jumbo Pass area is granted protected area status, so this ill-conceived resort proposal never comes back again to endanger the region’s grizzly bears and other wildlife.”

Jumbo Glacier Resort is a proposed year-round ski resort development in Jumbo Valley, 55 kilometres west of Invermere.

An EAC was issued in Oct. 2004 and as part of an extension issued in 2009, the expiry date was set for Oct. 12, 2014.