Jumbo Valley to stay wild

Jumbo Glacier nestled in the Purcell Mountain Range . SPIN Photo.

Jumbo Valley, known for its breathtaking views and spiritual Indigenous significance, will stay wild after a decision from the B.C. court of appeal.

Should developers of Jumbo Glacier Resort wish to proceed in the East Kootenay area it would need to be re-assessed. 

In August the court ruled the decision of the provincial Minister of Environment that the project’s environmental assessment certificate was expired due to not being started sustainably, would be reinstated after a lower court had overturned it. 

Meredith Hamstead, from the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society, said it was an important step toward sustainable protection of ecosystems and cultural and social values. She added it was key work toward developing a larger Indigenous Protected and Conserved area. 

“They have really three avenues open to them,” she said of the developers wishing to create the resort. “One is to reapply for an environmental assessment certificate. Two would be to try and come in under the threshold for environmental assessment review, and three would be to apply for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. That would be to appeal the August 9 decision of the BC Court of Appeals…All three of those avenues are very complex and none of them are an easy road forward.”

Hamstead said the conservation society felt good about the decision and that it was a win for them.

“We are feeling very good about the recent court decision, and we are feeling very good about the recent news from the federal government regarding Ktunaxa land stewardship.” 

She said rather than focusing on the future they’re enjoying being at their strongest point in the 30 year campaign to protect the area. 

While Hamstead, the society and many others, are against the development of Jumbo Glacier Resort they are passionate skiers. 

“As the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society has said for many many years, it’s time to focus investment in B.C.’s existing ski areas who are facing change in the tourism industry, change in tourism appetites, climate change…Simply creating new ski resorts is not going to address the challenges that existing ski resorts face in British Columbia.

“I think, as a lifelong passionate skier, Jumbo was never a good idea. But Panorama and Kimberly, Fernie, Kicking Horse Resort, Red Mountain and Sun Peaks, and all of these ski areas that exist have the support of their communities and they have existing infrastructure and there’s no controversy about them as far as land conservation. They exist and we support them.”