International investors want to build a ski resort and recreational city in the remote upper Jumbo Valley in the very heart of the wild Purcell Mountains. The real estate development would cover approximately 104 hectares. Ski areas accessed by new lifts would bring the total resort footprint to more than 6,000 hectares.
If fully built, the "Jumbo Glacier Resort" would have 5,500 tourist beds and 750 staff beds. It would require over 20 lifts, including a gondola, t-bars and chairlifts to access skiing on nearby glaciers. The resort is being promoted as a "year-round skiing" destination that has no need for snowmaking. However, both ski and climate experts disagree with this claim.
The Jumbo Valley is in the heart of B.C.'s Columbia Mountains, in the Purcell Range.
It is home to grizzly bears and other wildlife, and is crowned by several impressive summits of over 3,000 meters: Jumbo, Farnham, Commander and Karnak.
The area has long been revered for its spiritual significance and beauty. The nearest communities are Panorama Mountain Village, 35 kilometres away, and Invermere, 55 kilometres away. Panorama is a resort village and has few permanent residents. Invermere has a low permanent population and a high summer population, with social services such as community health, family services, and emergency services already stretched to capacity. The community is ill-prepared to take on hundreds more low-income, remote-workplace families -- or the duties of providing emergency response to hundreds of new ski season residents.
We are the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society and Wildsight.
We are working to stop an unsustainable and environmentally-destructive ski resort and real estate development from being built in the upper Jumbo Valley. Our members come from all walks of life, and most of us live in Canada's Columbia Basin.
Although the resort promoter claims public voices like ours have had "too much say" in this land use decision, the facts tell a different story.
International investors first showed interest in the upper Jumbo Valley in 1989. By 1991, they’d solicited help from a Vancouver management company, Pheidias Project + Development Management, and formed Jumbo Glacier Resort Ltd. For nearly two decades, public opinion on the resort has been, for most intents and purposes, ignored by provincial governments. After twenty years, the proponents have never once bothered to apply to the local government decision-making body, the Regional District of East Kootenay, for rezoning to see if their proposal would be accepted, choosing instead to work fully behind the scenes in Victoria to avoid public process. The Jumbo Valley land use decision is still under scrutiny.
The glaciers, mountains, creeks and land in the Jumbo Valley are known in British Columbia as "Crown" lands, publicly-owned lands. Should the proposed resort go through, these lands would become private -- to be developed and sold for the profit of the few. So, why has this project been pushed on the residents of the Columbia Basin since 1991, even after repeated, third-party polling shows the overwhelming majority are against it?