On Nov 15th in the Legislature, it was my honour to join members of the Ktunaxa Nation, fellow NDP MLAs, our Leader Adrian Dix as well as hockey legend Scott Niedermayer for a press conference to keep Jumbo Glacier wild.
During Question Period the same afternoon, I asked the Minister for Forests, Lands and Natural Resources and Range, to finally make a decision on the proposed resort and keep Jumbo Wild. To view the exchange click here.
JUMBO GLACIER RESORT PROPOSAL
M. Mungall: Whether it is people who have lived in the area since time immemorial or people who moved to the Kootenays just a few years ago, people in the region are clear: they do not want a resort on Jumbo Glacier. An economic analysis of the proposed development found that the proponent is relying on flawed market assumptions and overestimating the economic activity.
The Ktunaxa and the Kootenay communities know that a resort on Jumbo Glacier is a bad deal for the region and will destroy wildlife habitat that has been sacred for millennia. Will the minister responsible finally make the right decision and keep Jumbo wild?
Hon. S. Thomson: I appreciate the opportunity to comment on this question. As you know, I’m the decision-maker with respect to the master development agreement for this project. I have been undertaking a process of full diligence in order to make that decision. That has included meeting with the proponents. It has included meeting with First Nations. It has included meeting with all interested parties on this project. I’m continuing to do that due diligence.
As you know, it’s been a project that has had a significant amount of time period involved with it, so there is a very great deal of information on this project that needs to be assessed in a careful, thoughtful manner.
I had the opportunity to meet with the delegation that is here in Victoria today to hear their concerns. I had the opportunity to meet with them directly this summer to hear those concerns in depth. Those will all be part of the due diligence and the consideration that it will take to make sure that this decision is made in a fair and open manner.
N. Macdonald: We just need to give context to this issue. In the time that Jumbo has been proposed, there has been a tremendous amount of development. The Ktunaxa themselves have developed a golf resort and hotel complex on the St. Mary River. They are currently working with industrial projects, developing forestry opportunities. Kicking Horse Resort was proposed, built, opened. Revelstoke Mountain Resort was proposed, built, opened — as have numerous golf resorts.
All of those made sense to the people in the area. These do not make sense. You have to be environmentally and economically responsible. The best able to judge that? Some new to the Columbia Valley and some like the Ktunaxa with roots back countless generations are saying clearly this development is wrong.
When will the government do the right thing and say no to the Jumbo Valley land giveaway?
Hon. S. Thomson: As I’ve indicated clearly, the process of due diligence…. I take that responsibility very, very seriously, in terms of making this decision, with respect to being the statutory decision-maker. I am undertaking that process. The environmental, the economic, the First Nation considerations will all be part of that process.
I had the opportunity to have very in-depth discussion on those issues as part of the due process, and as I said very clearly, it’s my undertaking to make sure that this process is done in an open, fair and transparent manner, and that’s the process that I will continue.- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -