Jumbo Glacier ski resort likely to fail, says NDP’s MacDonald

By Andrew MacLeod March 20, 2012     http://thetyee.ca

Despite the British Columbia government’s approval of the Jumbo Glacier ski resort, the project is unlikely to happen anytime soon, said New Democratic Party MLA Norm MacDonald.

"It doesn’t actually change a great deal," said MacDonald, the representative for Columbia River-Revelstoke. "This one has never had the fundamentals right."

People who live in the area say the project makes no sense from environmental, social or financial perspectives, he said, noting the Ktunaxa First Nation opposes it. "That hasn’t changed."

MacDonald criticized the government for making the announcement in Victoria instead of one of the communities in the area. "I find it hugely insulting," he said. "It felt pretty colonial, I have to say."

Nor does the project appear to have any money behind it, he said.

A contact for the proponent did not respond to an email by posting time, but architect Oberto Oberti has reportedly said he hopes to have phase one running within two years.

The proponents will have to be shopping around for investors, said Kathryn Teneese, the chair of the Ktunaxa Nation. Any possible investors should know that the Ktunaxa First Nation holds the area sacred and strongly opposes the project, she said.

"We intend to make sure part of that shopping list includes the fulsome picture," she said. "I think they need to know."

The Ktunaxa are leaving the door open for whatever action is necessary to stop the project, she said. "I think we have a responsibility to protect the area and it’s one we take very seriously."

She said she was "disappointed, a little bit angry and somewhat dismayed" by the B.C. government’s announcement this morning that it had approved the project which was first proposed in 1991.

MacDonald said he suspects that if the NDP wins the election scheduled for May, 2013, that it would be possible to reverse the decision. The project requires the province to build a $200 million road, according to the environmental assessment, he noted.

"It will be one of those things that have to be figured out," he said. The BC Liberal government is in free fall and the Jumbo project is just one of the complications or "land mines" it is likely to leave for the next government, he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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