Two weeks ago, the Union of BC Municipalities unanimously passed a motion opposing provincial funding of the unpopulated Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort municipality (JGMRM).
The resort was officially incorporated as a municipality last February and a mayor and two city councillors were appointed despite a virtual lack of a population.
During that year, the municipality received $250,000 in provincial funds and an additional $50,000 from the federal gas tax fund this past spring.
Over the next five years, the municipality is set to receive an additional $1 million in provincial funds.
The JGMRM has been met with controversy since its inception.
The resort was proposed as a year-round ski resort located 55 kilometres outside of Invermere at the base of Jumbo Mountain and Jumbo Glacier. The idea was initially brought to the government in 1990, but assessments on the environmental impacts were not completed until 2004.
Representatives from the Ktunaxa Nation voiced their concerns of the impact the resort would have on the local wildlife and eventually opposition culminated in Victoria in a 2010 protest against the resort.
“Local governments across B.C. struggle to provide services to our residents and the provincial government constantly says there is no money,” said Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft in a press release on September 26.
He added, “Not only is the concept of a town with no residents and an appointed council ridiculous, but the idea that this fake town will get over $1 million in provincial funding over the next five years is disgusting.”
Construction of the resort is expected to be complete by 2015 with an approximate building cost total of $450 million.
Mayor Greg Deck of JGMRM said, “The municipality is under attack from those who continue to oppose the creation of the Jumbo Glacier Resort precisely because it is succeeding at the task it was created to perform. Those of us who took the oath of office as municipal councillors to serve to the best of our ability at that task continue to do so.”
Deck continued, highlighting the municipal structure of JGMRM to be an important facet.
“JGMRM participates in the same programs, has the same reporting requirements and operates under the same legislation,” said Deck. “All municipalities in the province receive some of their funding from provincial and federal sources, and JGMRM is no exception. It receives the bare minimum under those programs, given that it is only in its earliest stages, and it is able, even at that lowest level, to set aside some of its operating funds as general reserves for later capital projects.”