Opponents to the Jumbo Glacier Development are awaiting decision from the provincial Environmental Assessment Office as to whether Glacier Resorts Limited’s Environmental Certificate is still valid.
If valid, the Certificate allows the company to build their proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort. The issue hinges on the question of whether the project was substantially started within the allotted 10-year time period, says Robyn Duncan of Wildsight, which has made a submission to the EAO to further their point that substantial construction has not begun.
“Glacier Resorts hasn’t completed the water testing they committed to do prior to construction as part of the environmental assessment process” says Wildsight’s Robyn Duncan. “We’ve been following the law faithfully and honestly throughout this process and the company’s failure to comply with their commitments just reinforces our long-stated concerns about their ability to build and operate this project in an environmentally responsible manner.”
The deadline to prove substantial construction was October 12. Immediately prior to that date, Duncan says concrete trucks did drive up to the Jumbo site and pour two slabs.
“We found out on October 8 that an EAO audit said that they were not in compliance with the environmental certificate pre-construction requirements. Whatever construction did start, started before they met their pre-construction requirements. It puts the integrity of the whole process in question.”
Duncan says that to her it looks like Glacier rushed in to pour concrete before the deadline.
“They are calling what they poured a foundation. To me there is a big difference between a foundation and a concrete slab. In my mind there is no way the Minister could declare it a substantial start.
“It’s a massive project, with a budget between $450 million and a billion dollars. Two concrete slabs poured in the bottom of the valley, a few road improvements and a bridge paid for by the municipality is not a substantial start.”
However, Duncan says the challenge is that there is no legal definition of substantial start. A decision is expected soon.
“It is up to Minister Mary Polak to make the decision. There is no time line, but all indications are that she will make a timely decision. It is to no one’s benefit for this to drag out too long.”