Wildsight gains national recognition for Jumbo campaign

A lot of key Jumbo milestones this year, including end of environmental certificate

In a recent Mountain Equipment Co-op national competition Wildsight’s Jumbo Wild campaign took top spot, and $5000.

The win is a big one in two ways says Wildsight’s Robyn Duncan. First, $5000 is a nice cash award and cash is always needed for any campaign.

And secondly, the fact that it was a national contest means that Jumbo is getting national recognition.

Wildsight’s Jumbo Wild project beat out such high-profile competition as Ontario Nature, Clean  Nova Scotia, and Alberta’s Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition, taking 40 per cent of the overall votes in this national online voting competition.

“Mountain Equipment Co-op supports a lot of conservation work in the Purcells,” Duncan said. “They choose groups to promote nationa-wid. The recognition is huge.

“This really shows how important the Purcell Mountains, and the Jumbo Valley in particular, are to people across the country. People really get it: now more than ever Canadians want to protect the wilderness we have, rather than developing remote valleys like Jumbo for more real estate profits, and trying to mitigate the impacts after the fact.”

2014 will be a big year for the Jumbo campaign in many ways. In fact, Duncan says, it could be the year where the whole issue comes to an end.

“There is the Ktunaxa judicial review. The court date has been set for January 2014 and that will be huge. It really could have an impact because it is challenging the Master Development Agreement. The whole thing hinges on that agreement.

“Then there is the West Kootenay Eco Society’s judicial challenge. There is no court date set for that yet.”

The other big thing is the fact that the Environmental Certificate for the Jumbo development expires in October 2014.

“There are 199 legally binding conditions in the certificate and we just don’t believe they are possible to meet,” Duncan said. “The certificate can only be extended for one five year term and it already has been. Under current law there is no way to extend it unless legislation changes. It requires “substantive commencement” and nothing has taken place.

“This year is hopefully the final chapter unless they miraculously find investors.”

“At MEC, we’re inspired by wild places –  places like the upper Jumbo Valley,” explains MEC’s Community Program Manager Andrew Stegemann.

“MEC Wild Bucks support our commitment to conserve ecologically and recreationally important places by giving our members the means to register their support for groups like Wildsight that are working to raise awareness of what’s at stake in Jumbo and other threatened places.”