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Jumbo protesters not leaving without guarantees

Unexpected tenure transfer gives resort developer the right to place lift on Farnham Glacier

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Quinn says that Wildsight is prepared to extend their blockade until next year, and that his group won’t budge until there is a public process to review the tenure. While the government says it was a transfer of licences after the CODA licence expired in December 2007, he maintains that it is actually a new licence because of the size of the expansion of the tenure area, and because it allows lift and road construction.

As for the claim that other ski clubs would be able to use the expanded tenure, he says allowances were already made with CODA to allow summer training for amateur athletes as well as members of the national ski and snowboard teams.

Regarding the resort development, Quinn says that residents have been fighting the proposal for almost 20 years, based on environmental concerns, concerns for resident wildlife, and the fact that the proposed resort is within driving distance of more than a dozen other resorts that are not currently at capacity. The Ktunaxa First Nations, which claims Jumbo as part of its traditional territory, is also on record opposing the proposed development as presented, although they are negotiating with the province and developer. Walters says those discussions should wrap up in the next few months, allowing the developers to proceed with their application for a Master Development Plan.

Some members of the band have also joined the blockade, believing they should have been consulted before the tenure was awarded to Glacier Resorts — especially considering that they are already in discussion with the province over the tenure area.

Quinn says the conditional Environmental Assessment certificate awarded to the developers will expire in 2009, which will require a new Environmental Assessment.

As well he says the proponents will have to win the support of Ktunaxa and Sinixt First Nations.

Last summer the regional district held a plebiscite of residents to gauge their support for the project, and roughly 80 per cent of respondents said they were against. Other polls have also been negative, although the project does have the support of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The project calls for the initial installation of a gondola, three T-bars for winter and summer skiing and two chairlifts, and the construction of a lodge and accommodations for overnight visitors. At buildout, a process expected to take 20 years, Jumbo Glacier Resort would have 6,250 beds, which includes 750 beds for staff. The Jumbo drainage is home to several large glaciers that would accommodate summer skiing.