Two environmental non-profits – Wildsight and the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society (JCCS) — have alleged that Jumbo Glacier Resort construction cannot legally proceed.
According to the groups, Glacier Resorts Ltd. began construction late and the environmental testing the group committed to do when they were granted an environmental certificate a decade ago was not completed.
The Environmental Assessment Office confirmed that Glacier Resorts Ltd. moved forward with last-minute construction without completing water testing, which was a condition in the group’s environmental certificate.
“We’ve been following the law faithfully and honestly throughout this process and the company’s failure to comply with their commitments just reinforces our long-stated concerns about their ability to build and operate this project in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Wildsight’s Robyn Duncan in a press release.
Bob Campsall of the JCCS added, “Glacier Resorts Ltd. waited until the last weeks of their 10-year window to start construction on the resort and all they’ve accomplished is to pour concrete slabs for two buildings and anchors for a single ski lift. There is a good reason these certificates come with an expiration date. Environmental factors and available information about environmental impacts change over the course of a decade.”
Ecojustice lawyer Morgan Blakley is representing the two non-profits.
According to Tommaso Oberti, vice-president of Pheidias Project Management Corp., the project management company for the resort, the testing was completed and he is confident that the project will continue without delay.
“The project was subject to 197 conditions, all of which have been complied with except for three, in which case the project team moved quickly to be in compliance. The water quality testing has been done,” said Oberti.
He continued that construction began quickly over the summer despite challenges the resort faced.
“Construction moved incredibly quickly given the short construction window of less than two months this summer, due to environmental and weather considerations,” reasoned Oberti. He also asserted that it wasn’t possible to complete the permitted zoning and construction earlier due to the province delaying final approval for the project.
“The project opponent’s legal challenges have already failed on four different occasions and we are confident their latest assertions do not meet a legal test,” concluded Oberti.
The Jumbo Glacier Resort is a proposed year-round ski resort set up in the Purcell mountains ecosystem and will include a large network of ski lifts as well as hotels, condominiums, town houses and other developments to attract tourists all year.
Since its beginning stages, the resort has been met with controversy in part due to its potential environmental impact as well as its appointment of government staff and income of several hundreds of thousands of government dollars despite not having a population.