Qat’muk is the name of the lands of the Ktunaxa Nation. It includes the area of the Jumbo Valley. For over 26 years Kootenay residents fought to keep Qat’muk free from industrial development from the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort. It is the largest tract of non-roaded wilderness in Southern BC and home to the Grizzly Bear spirit. Now it is part of a 600 square kilometre protected area.

Jumbo will stay Wild

EcoSociety opposed the Qat’muk development and was a member of the West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild since its incorporation in 1994. In 2013, with support from West Coast Environmental Law, EcoSociety submitted an application for judicial review of the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality citing it being undemocratic to have a municipality with no citizens. The court challenge was overruled by the BC Supreme court in 2015.

In 2012, the Ktunaxa Nation petitioned the BC Supreme Court concerning their right to freedom of religion under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Qat’muk is the home of the Grizzly Bear Spirit, an integral source of guidance, strength, protection and spirituality for the Ktunaxa. The importance of the spirit is inextricably linked to the health of present and future grizzly populations, who need large expanses of undisturbed territory. The BC Supreme Court ruled that the Ktunaxa were properly consulted and did not infringe on their Charter rights. This decision was appealed and sustained, and subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the original ruling.

In 2018, Glacier Resorts Ltd. filed a legal petition to review the expiration of their Environmental Assessment Certificate as the result of the 2015 decision by Minister of Environment Mary Pollack that the project had not “substantially started”. The final ruling required the current Ministry of Environment to do a second review with the new information that Glacier Resorts Ltd. provided. The Ministry of Environment appealed the decision, and in early August 2019, the BC Appeals Court upheld the Minister’s decision.

Now the Government of Canada, the Ktunaxa Nation Council and other partners have created a protected area to keep Jumbo wild. Public pressure worked. This is a huge win. It gives us hope.

Next Steps

The next milestone will be the dissolution of the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality, the municipality with no citizens. The provincial government has stated they have begun work on this, and when we know it is done, it will be time to celebrate.

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