The Jumbo Resort is a step closer after the province approved the project's master development agreement today.

UPDATED: Jumbo Glacier Resort approved

The B.C. Liberal government announced its approval of the Jumbo Glacier Resort today.



The long-debated Jumbo Glacier Resort is another step closer to reality, after the B.C. government announced its approval of a master development agreement for the controversial ski resort today.

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson and Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett made the announcement together in Victoria, and characterized the decision as a tough but necessary step for the government.

“I made this decision after reviewing all of the relevant, extensive documentation on this file as well as visting the site and meeting with both first nations and the proponent,” said Thomson. “I respect that there have been differing views on this project, but after 20 years of this extensive review it was time to make a decision.”

Bennett, a longtime supporter of the project and the BC Liberal MLA closest to the Jumbo area, said he hoped the decision would allow communities divided by the issue to heal.

“It’s divided our communities and we wanted it over. We wanted a decision from government and I can’t thank my friend Steve enough for having the courage to make this decision,” he told media.

The master development agreement lays out the terms and conditions under which the resort can be developed and allows proponents Glacier Resorts Ltd. to move forward with phased development of 6,250 beds, up to 23 ski lifts and a 3,000 metre-high gondola.

A wildlife management zone will also be established in the area, which Thomson said should address concerns by the Ktunaxa Nation. The Ktunaxa have opposed the resort’s development because of the area’s spiritual significance, which is tied to its grizzly population.

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald, who has opposed the development, called the decision “disrespectful” to those who oppose the project locally.

“It’s incredibly disrespectful, to go pretty much as far from Invermere as you can to make this announcement,” he said. “The government knows that this is an issue that people in Invermere care about, and they chose to hide away in Victoria and make the announcement there, in front of people that largely will not understand the issue the way people here do.”

But Bennett said making the announcement in “neutral” territory was part of the government’s plan.

“I think you would have ended up with 1,000 people on either side of the street,” had the announcement been made in Invermere, he said. “You would have had the proponents on one side of the street shouting how much they support it and you would have had 1,000 people on the other side of the street shouting about why it shouldn’t happen. It would have perpetuated the sort of dynamic that has existed in our communities and we’ve had enough of that.”

From here, GRL will have go through what ministry staff called a “relatively minor permitting process” to have lands in the Jumbo area rezoned. That could be done via the Regional District of East Kootenay, by having the area annexed for management by a nearby municipality, or by dubbing Jumbo a mountain resort municipality.

Glacier Resorts has already put in a request for resort municipality status, which the province is reviewing — though approval or rejection of the plan would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

News of the announcement comes about a month after a delegation of local business owners, politicians and the resort’s proponents spent a week promoting the resort in France. A reciprocal trip by French investors is planned for this spring.

However, Thomson told The Echo the trip had no bearing on his decision.

Keep watching invermerevalleyecho.com for more updates as this story breaks.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A philanthropic twist on Fernie’s Australia Day festivities

Various local businesses hosted events and fundraisers for the Australian bushfires

The FSA Gumball Challenge back for round two

The snowmobile event will cover hundreds of acres of terrain

Fernie SAR responds to injured skier

Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated on January 27 after receiving… Continue reading

International Snow Science Workshop coming to Fernie

World leaders in the snow industry will be flocking to Fernie in… Continue reading

Teck donates land to Elkford Housing Society

The land donation ceremony took place on January 16

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Most Read