The proponents of Jumbo Glacier Resort are one step closer to breaking ground on a new ski resort in the Purcell Mountains, with the province approving the Jumbo Glacier Resort Master Plan in August.
It’s been a long process to get to this stage for Oberto Oberti, the Vancouver-based architect who originally envisioned the resort in 1984, and has been working to bring it to fruition for more than 18 years. But there are a few obstacles remaining — the Regional District of the East Kootenays must approve rezoning of the proposed resort, which will include roughly 6,000 hectares of skiable terrain, up to 23 lifts on four glaciers, 6,500 bed units, and other resort services and amenities.
That zoning needs to be in place for the province to approve a Master Development Plan for Jumbo, which would allow construction to get underway.
It is expected that Jumbo Glacier Resort Ltd. will apply for rezoning in the coming months.
For groups that oppose the development, including Wildsight and the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society, the zoning phase represents an opportunity to quash the controversial proposal once and for all. In recent weeks groups have been pulling out all the stops to mobilize the public against the proposed resort, and encouraging residents in the region to respond to a regional district plebiscite on the project. Residents have until Nov. 2 to respond.
The plebiscite results are non-binding, but the polling opportunity was created by the regional district to allow residents and property owners in Electoral Area F to formally register their views on the development. The results will be forwarded to the provincial government.
Opposition groups also got a major boost in September when Scott Neidermayer, an NHL star from Cranbrook, announced his opposition to the project. Neidermayer timed his announcement to coincide with his visit home with the Stanley Cup.
“I have been fortunate to play hockey and travel all over the world,” he said. “Wilderness and wildlife values are disappearing, due in part to development proposals similar to the proposed Jumbo Resort. I am continually amazed we still have them here in the Kootenays.
“I am not only concerned about the loss of wilderness and the negative impacts on wildlife and on the area I call home. It’s clear local people feel both their concerns and those of wildlife experts have been consistently ignored.”
Scott’s brother Rob, who plays on the NHL champion Anaheim Ducks, is also opposed to the development.
Local polling has been against the proposal, and more than 90 per cent of the public comments the province received during the environmental assessment process were against the resort development. As well, the Ktunaxa First Nations, which have land claims in the Jumbo Valley, are opposed to the resort.