It was a ‘Jumbo mistake’ for the provincial government to approve the Jumbo Glacier Resort’s Master Development Agreement this week, say Wildsight and Scott Niedermayer, NHL legend who grew up in Cranbrook.
“I am disappointed with the B.C. government’s decision on the Jumbo Glacier resort,” said Niedermayer. “I will continue my efforts to protect the unique, wild areas of the Kootenays for future generations to enjoy. The majestic wildlife, like the grizzly bear, need these large wilderness areas to support healthy populations.”
John Bergenske, Wildsight’s executive director, said opposition to the project remains strong.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that the provincial government has ignored the overwhelming opposition to this project from the people of the Kootenays, the Ktunaxa Nation’s spiritual values, and ignored the clear scientific consensus against the development by North America’s leading grizzly bear experts.
“It’s a bad decision. But it’s not the end,” Bergenske said.
It’s thought that Glacier Resorts Ltd. will need nearly $1 billion in capital investment to build the ski resort. With ski hills across the Kootenays running below capacity and a declining trend in the ski industry and real estate market, Bergenske questions who will invest in the resort.
“This is not economic diversification,” Bergenske said. “The Kootenays have lots of ski resorts, heli- and cat-ski operations. Jumbo is a land grab, pure and simple.”
But before the project can move forward, the land must be rezoned, and the Province hasn’t indicated how. Glacier Resorts has requested that the Province declare the area a resort municipality, creating a town with zero population and an appointed council, the first in B.C.
“It’s never been done before,” Bergenske said.
Niedermayer said it’s not time to let the issue drop. “I believe we must do all we can to keep these places wild, as they are coming under increasing pressure of development and disappearing around the world,” he said.