West Kootenay EcoSociety is demanding that the Minister of Environment intervene in the controversial Jumbo Resort Project (read the letter). The group claims that the resort developer is out of compliance with several parts of its 2004 environmental approval. Meanwhile, construction may begin in earnest on Saturday October 4 as rumors swirl about concrete trucks headed for the Jumbo Valley.

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“This is a critical time for this 24-year campaign,” said David Reid, Executive Director of West Kootenay EcoSociety. “The environmental certificate expires in 11 days, and it is clear that the developer has not met the conditions of the environmental certificate. That’s why we’re asking the Minister to exercise her powers to halt work until the Glacier Resorts lives up to its commitments to the people of BC.”

At issue are the 195 commitments that make up the Environmental Certificate awarded in 2004. Certain provisions are required to be completed before construction, which must “substantially commence” before October 12 of this year. If construction doesn’t begin, according to Reid, Glacier Resorts Limited would have to complete a costly new environmental assessment.

“We are not surprised that the developer is cutting corners on this project to get their shovels in the ground,” Reid stated. “What’s surprising and disappointing is how the Environmental Assessment Office is letting them get away with it instead of protecting our environment.”

West Kootenay EcoSociety’s letter to Mary Polak, Minister of Environment points out areas where Glacier Resorts Limited has not complied with its commitments. According to West Kootenay EcoSociety, the Environmental Assessment Office has approved the developer’s plan to use data from the 1990s to meet requirements for pre-construction monitoring of streams and grizzly bears. In addition, Reid questions the approach to monitoring for endangered species, which consists solely of asking construction workers to note any observations.

Meanwhile, rumours have surfaced that Glacier Resorts Limited plans to bring 15 truckloads of concrete to the Jumbo Valley on October 4 to pour a foundation for the day lodge. Volunteers at the Jumbo Wild Monitoring Camp have observed road work this week, which may be preparation for the concrete trucks. West Kootenay EcoSociety, along with Wildsight and Jumbo Creek Conservation Society, plans a rally at the Jumbo Wild Monitoring Camp on Saturday starting at 8am MST.