The ACC weighs in on Jumbo dispute
Editor's note: The Alpine Club of Canada continues to take a hard line against development of an all-season ski resort in the Jumbo Valley of British Columbia's Purcell Mountains.
Writing on behalf of our 14,000+ members across the country, and subsequent to letters submitted from 2004, 2008, 2010, and 2012, the ACC has again expressed our firm opposition to the Jumbo Glacier Resort Development. The opposition comes in the form of a letter crafted by our national Access and Environment committee, signed by our Executive Director Lawrence White on behalf of the ACC's board of directors.
Read the full letter by clicking the button at the end of the article.
What's being proposed
The controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort project proposes a year-round ski resort spanning four glaciers in the Jumbo Valley, requiring 20 lifts, a gondola and t-bars to access. Real estate projects associated with the resort would see development of approximately 104 hectares, bringing the total resort footprint to 6,000+ hectares. Dozens of kilometres of roadways would be built in the avalanche-prone surrounding valleys that are considered prime grizzly habitat.
The three-phase project would include 5,500 bed-units plus 750 staff beds and is expected to draw 2,000 to 3,000 visitors a day in high season. View the full plan here.
Opposition to the project
The Jumbo Valley is recognized internationally as one of North America's most vital wildlife corridors. For close to 30 years now, since the proposal was initiated, environmental groups and scientists from around the continent have expressed disdain for the project citing concerns about the loss of grizzly bears (a keystone species) from this area if the resort development and associated roadways and human impacts were allowed to proceed.
Jumbo Glacier lies within the territory of the Ktunaxa people who are also adamant the project will drive Grizzly Bear Spirit from Qat'muk — the traditional name for the spiritual territory — and permanently impair their religious beliefs and spiritual practices.
There is also doubt about the economic feasibility of the project, considering saturation of the ski market in the area (there are eight ski resorts within a four hour radius), a projected drop in numbers of domestic skiers in the future, and the well-known impacts of climate change on glacial melting (an obvious challenge to a ski resort based on glaciers).
There has been next to no support for this project from the local and surrounding communities (including recreational skiers, climbers and hikers) yet the project has managed to circumvent the democratic process at many stages of provincial and federal approvals to date. Read more about the various governmental decisions that have been made over the years here.
The ACC's stance
Our club represents the interests of more than 14,000 members across Canada and is an advocate for the preservation of mountain environments, both for self-propelled recreation and for the health of our waters and forests. The Jumbo Glacier Resort development threatens these values and the ACC is requesting that "the Province of British Columbia dissolve the JGMRM (Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality) and work in collaboration with the Ktunaxa Nation Council to co-develop a proposal for legal protection of the Jumbo valley/Qat’muk as a park or conservation area.
"The Alpine Club of Canada firmly believes that conservation of Jumbo valley/Qat’muk will have a much greater social, environmental and economic legacy than supporting the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort Development."
Click the button below to read the full letter as it was submitted to BC's premier and relevant ministers.