Things are stalled, but they are still moving

Last night I went to the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society (JCCS) annual meeting in Invermere. Together, we celebrated that the Jumbo Valley has stayed wild for another year. The JCCS has been Wildsight’s main partner in the decades-long campaign to keep Jumbo Wild—and their dedication is unwavering. Over the years, working relationships have changed to friendship and last night as I looked around, I was filled with gratitude for community and for the commitment and passion of people who give so much of their time and energy to stand up for what they believe in.

We’ve been quieter than usual this year, but I’m happy to be writing you today to share with you what’s been happening.

This year, we went to court to defend the cancellation of the Jumbo Glacier Resort’s Environmental Certificate. Represented by Ecojustice, and in partnership with the JCCS, we were granted intervenor status in the case brought against the BC government by Glacier Resorts.

A quick re-cap: the Environmental Certificate was declared expired by then Minister of Environment Mary Polak in 2015 because, despite 10 years of opportunity, the proponents had failed to substantially start the project. Our case was heard in June over three days and in August, the court issued their judgement. The court didn’t uphold the previous cancellation of the certificate, but nor did they reinstate it. Instead, they sent the decision back to the Ministry of Environment to be reconsidered with new parameters.

But then in the fall, the BC government filed an appeal of this decision. Teaming up with Ecojustice again, we expect the case to be heard in the first half of 2019. Until then, things remain stalled.

BC’s only town without people and an appointed mayor and council remains in place, an affront to democracy. While the rest of BC voted to elect their town councils in October, Jumbo was the only town that didn’t hold an election. I heard last night from a member of the Columbia Valley Search and Rescue team that they recently applied for funds from the Jumbo municipality to support their work. Their team often ends up on rescues in the Jumbo Valley and it’s fairly normal for Search and Rescue to be supported by local municipalities. Alas, but not suprisingly, their request was denied.

The backdrop to everything right now is that the Canadian government is trying to meet its goal of protecting 17% of Canada’s wilderness by the year 2020, as part of its commitment at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. They are particularly keen to work in partnership with Indigenous communities on areas of cultural importance—Jumbo is an obvious and perfect fit as protecting the Jumbo Valley would be protecting both wilderness and a sacred territory for the Ktunaxa Nation.

This campaign has been going on since the Jumbo Glacier Resort was first proposed in 1991. That’s 27 years. Our campaign has grown since then and become a movement. You are an important part of this movement. We couldn’t have done any of this without you.

Our keynote speaker at the JCCS annual meeting last night told us that he was at a university in Missouri to give a talk and, walking across a bridge, he saw a Keep Jumbo Wild sticker. Our message is being heard around the world. Thank you for spreading the word to your families, your friends and your communities. Thanks for speaking up to Keep Jumbo Wild!

For Jumbo Wild,

Robyn Duncan,

Jumbo Wild Campaign Lead, Wildsight

p.s. As the snow covers the mountains, get Jumbo inspired all over again by curling up and watching Jumbo Wild on iTunes

p.p.s. Want to spread the word? Grab your stickers here.

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