Rossland city council has joined the chorus of voices opposed to the controversial Jumbo Glacier ski resort project.
Following a recent court decision against the proposed ski hill in the East Kootenay, council has written to the B.C. government asking it to move further to dismantle the project.
“On behalf of the City of Rossland’s council, I am writing to you to express our support for dissolving the Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality,” Mayor Kathy Moore wrote to George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The recent Court of Appeal ruling stating that no significant progress has been made on the development has given the province a golden opportunity to re-assess the project and make some common-sense decisions.”
Moore wants the province to put a permanent halt to the project, calling it “a bad idea on so many levels.”
“A resort predicated on the existence of a shrinking glacier is short-sighted and environmentally ruinous,” Moore cites as one example, adding that “[t]here is no justifiable reason to negatively impact habitat and one of the few intact wildlife corridors for creatures such as the iconic grizzly bear. The area is far more valuable left in its natural state.”
She also says the economic rationale isn’t there for another ski resort in British Columbia.
“The numerous and wonderful resorts that already exist struggle to remain sustainable in a world of harsh competition for every tourist dollar available,” says Moore, whose own town’s main economic driver is a ski hill. “Jumbo would dilute this already crowded market.”
Moore told the Rossland News it makes sense for council to lobby against the proposed project.
“I saw in the news that the court of appeal decision came down… and there’s a lot of controversy in the East Kootenay over this project,” Moore says. “I think it’s everybody’s business to think about the impact of climate change. We have glaciers melting up there, we have wildlife impacted up there, whether it’s in our backyard or someone else’s backyard, it’s all one planet.”
Moore admits there’s an element of self-interest for Rossland to oppose the project.
“I’m all in favour of competition, and I’m in favour of collaboration, but there is some point where you can have too much of a good thing,” she says. “And I think adding another resort, especially one that will impact pristine wilderness, is just not something we need.”
Moore’s also irked by the existence of the Jumbo Glacier municipal government, a body set up by the province to administer issues surrounding the project.
“The creation of a municipality, with an un-elected mayor and council, with no residents and receiving provincial funds is undemocratic and just wrong,” she writes. “It is not a wise or beneficial use of taxpayer money to support a non-existent municipal entity.
“It doesn’t make any sense that you have a municipality there, where there aren’t any people,” she says.
Council approved the letter going to the minister at its last meeting Aug. 12.