The proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort completed its environmental assessment in 2004, and the environmental certificate was granted for 5 years. In 2009, when the Environmental Certificate expired, West Kootenay EcoSociety and others argued that the certificate should not have been renewed, since new data on grizzly bear populations had been developed. Nevertheless, the province exercised its legal right to grant one extension of the Environmental Certificate. That extension ran out on October 12 of this year. The Province must now decide if Glacier Resorts Limited “substantially started” the project in the “reasonable judgment” of the Minister of the Environment.

In addition to considering whether the project substantially started, the Minister must also consider whether Glacier Resorts Limited’s violations of the environmental certificate are sufficient to invalidate it. GRL agreed to 195 conditions, many of which were to have been met before construction began. The Environmental Assessment Act specifies that the proponent’s Environmental Certificate can be revoked if any of the conditions are not met. The Certificate also requires an amended certificate if there are substantial changes to the design or location of the proposed project. If the certificate is not amended, it can be revoked.

On October 9, the very same day that concrete trucks poured a non-structural concrete slab 56 meters from an avalanche path, the Environmental Assessment Office issued a letter of confirmed non-compliance of three of the 195 conditions. At least one of the conditions explicitly forbade any construction or site work before the completion of water sampling. Despite being out of compliance with this clear directive, GRL went ahead with the construction of a non-structural subfloor for the daylodge. To top it off, the daylodge is not in the place where it had been approved in the Master Plan or where it had been assessed in the Environmental Assessment.

In total, despite a ten year window for preliminary site planning, and a two-year window with the Jumbo Glacier Resort municipality inplace to rubber-stamp its plans, GRL only managed to complete .5% of the work for Phase I. We believe that not only is this work insubstantial, but it is probably unlawful and certainly shows a disregard for the regulatory process designed to protect our environment. 

You can read our letter to the Environmental Assessment Office.

You can also read the very detailed and thorough submission of the Ktunaxa Nation Council