Jumbo not “substantially started”

Environment Minister Mary Polak determined that the Jumbo Glacier Resort project has not been substantially started.

Environment Minister Mary Polak determined that the Jumbo Glacier Resort project has not been substantially started.

In light of the decision, Glacier Resorts Ltd. cannot proceed with development of the project unless a new certificate is obtained.

Construction on Jumbo has been halted while awaiting Polak’s substantial decision, having been delayed by avalanche safety concerns due to the position of some of Jumbo’s buildings.

The buildings in question, Jumbo’s day lodge and service building, were both determined to be within an avalanche zone and an order was released that construction could not recommence on those sites.

The decision by Polak, made on June 18, was meant to ascertain whether Jumbo had “substantially started” enough of its construction to retain its environmental assessment (EA) certificate, which expired on October 12, 2014.

The certificate was first granted in 2004 and then renewed in 2009 until its 2014 expiration.

In her report, Polak noted that substantially started decisions are considered on a case-by-case basis. Guidelines for her decision focused on whether a significant investment of time, effort and resources to physically develop the projects’ elements had been made and whether those activities were of import or were they secondary construction activities.

According to a June 18 release, the minister “determined that the physical activities undertaken on the various components did not meet the threshold of a substantially started project.”

Submissions from Glacier Resorts Ltd., the Ktunaxa Nation Council and the Shuswap Indian Band were all considered in the decision-making process.

Wildsight, a proponent against the project, was pleased with the minister’s decision.

“We are overjoyed with the province’s decision,” said Robyn Duncan of Wildsight. “This is the only reasonable outcome for this beleaguered project.”

Had the project gone forward, the Jumbo Glacier Resort would have been a year-round ski resort located 55 kilometres west of Invermere.