Yertle the Jumbo Turtle

Remember the Dr. Seuss classic, Yertle the Turtle, where old Yertle climbed on the backs of other turtles and declared himself the ruler of everything he could see around him?

In 2012, a first grade teacher in Prince Rupert B.C. faced disciplinary action for displaying a quote from Yertle the Turtle.

That quote was, “”I know, up on the top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.”

And that brings to mind the great sights those leading the bustling municipality of Jumbo must see.

Just imagine. You as the Mayor of Jumbo, can survey your vast domain. You can see the citizens going about their daily routines, you can see the thriving downtown business community, the beautiful neighbourhoods, the… oh, wait.

Your citizens are elk, mule deer and grizzlies. The vibrant downtown business community is partially built, cement slab. And there is no doubt the neighbourhood is beautiful. Most of it is untouched mountain wilderness. Of course, it’s beautiful.

What it shouldn’t be, is a municipality.

Yes, the Jumbo Resort Municipality, population zero.

The Municipality was created in 2013 by the then BC Liberal government in order to assist the developer in building the Jumbo Glacier Resort.

But here we are, six years later, and the resort has yet to be built. Recent court rulings have gone against the possibility of it being built, although the proponent has apparently not ruled out taking it to the Supreme Court of Canada. But there’s no guarantee that decision would go in the favour of the proponent either.

So here we are with a municipality, with a mayor and council and no citizens.

Sure it’s not costing the taxpayer any money. Currently.

In 2013, Jumbo received an initial start-up grant of $200,000 to establish a basic administrative structure and processes. Jumbo is eligible for approximately $200,000 annually in Small Community Grant funding for infrastructure, administration, and service delivery priorities. In March 2015, Jumbo received a $70,720 Small Community Grant and was scheduled to receive further grants, but requested deferment when the Environmental Assessment Certificate expired in 2015

But it is ridiculous. And it begs the question, why is this municipality status still in place? You’d think the NDP government, having had nothing to do with the creation of the municipality, would have no problem nullifying it. Yet, they don’t. Why?

Other municipalities seem to be wondering the same thing. Rossland City Council recently worte the B.C. government asking them dissolve the municipality.

“A resort predicated on the existence of a shrinking glacier is short-sighted and environmentally ruinous,” Mayor Moore cites as one example, adding that “[t]here is no justifiable reason to negatively impact habitat and one of the few intact wildlife corridors for creatures such as the iconic grizzly bear. The area is far more valuable left in its natural state.”

She also makes the point that the economic rationale isn’t there.

“The numerous and wonderful resorts that already exist struggle to remain sustainable in a world of harsh competition for every tourist dollar available,” says Moore, whose own town’s main economic driver is a ski hill. “Jumbo would dilute this already crowded market.”

She’s definitely not wrong there.

But Jumbo Mayor Greg Deck (ruler of all he can see) told CBC News that the province owes it to the developer to let the process play out.

In the meantime, Deck can boast of being mayor of the most efficient municipality in the world. No infrastructure problems (aside from the lack of it), no budget problems (if you need money, the province will supply it) no overcrowding (unless you count gophers) no urban decay (though that concrete slab won’t last forever) and no homelessness (every bear has its own den).

“All mine!” Yertle cried. “Oh, the things I now rule!

I’m the king of a bear! And I’m the king of a mule (deer)!

I’m the king of a slab! And, what’s more, beyond that

I’m the king of a huckleberry bush and a cat (cougar)!

I’m Yertle the Jumbo Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!

For I am the ruler of all that I see!”

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