The EcoSociety’s court case challenging the Jumbo City with no citizens was delayed when the Province submitted new testimony about the controversial proposed ski resort. 

Lawyers for the West Kootenay EcoSociety decided to ask for an adjournment to respond to the Province’s argument that “progress” since the  should prevent the judge from ruling it unlawful. Although such evidence should be irrelevant in reviewing whether the Minister of Community Development acted improperly in creating a municipality with no residents, the legal team decided to request more time to prepare a rebuttal argument. In fact, a professional assessment of the work completed so far by Glacier Resorts Ltd calculated that only .5% of Phase I of the project has been completed so far. 

In its response to West Kootenay EcoSociety’s revised petition, the Province also argued that the Legislature is not bound by common law definitions, and that the Province can essentially do what it wants. The West Kootenay EcoSociety’s court case argues that the Canadian Constitution and Charter implicitly define cities as having citizens, and that municipal councils must be elected rather than appointed. The provincial government appointed Jumbo Resort supporter Greg Deck as mayor, while Nancy Hugunin and Steve Ostrander were appointed to council. The province intially granted $260,000 of taxpayer money to support the creation of the muncipality and its operation, and the municipality has indicated it hopes to receive up to $1 million more in municipal grants.

Ktunaxa Case

Meanwhile, the Ktunaxa Nation has scheduled its hearing in the BC Court of Appeals. The Nation had filed for relief claiming that the province had not consulted the Nation sufficiently. The Nation has not signed a treaty with the Governments of BC or Canada, and the proposed resort falls within the Nation’s unceded traditional territory. The case will go before the Court of Appeals on May 29th.

Avalanche Follow up

When the Glacier Resort Limited dumped over a dozen trucks’ worth of cement in the Jumbo Valley in October 2015 (days before the deadline for starting the project), it became clear that the oroginal plan for the daylodge had changed. The location of the non-structural subfloor was nearly a kilometre away from where the lodge had been approved. While the developer chalked it up to standard “as-built” procedure, the sharp-eyed folks at RK Heliski pointed out that the new location is very close to a known avalanche path. Since this was specifically forbidden in the project’s environmental assessment, and because alert MLAs brought the issue to the public eye in question period, the Province asked the developer to provide a detailed avalanche hazard assessment. The developer has not yet provided this assessment, and its not clear if they can as long as there is snowpack on the ground. 

Substantial Commencement

The big question on everyone’s mind is whether the project has “substantially started.” Read more about substantial start here. The Ministry of Environment has decided not to make a determination on whether the project has substantially started until the avalance hazard assessment is completed, presumably because if the daylodge floor is found to be in an avalanche path, the environmental certificate would be invalid. Once the avalance hazard assessment is filed, the Minister will determine whether the project has started. If the Minister finds that the project has started despite accomplishing only .5% of its goals for Phase I, there may be grounds for a legal challenge to that decision as well. 

Fundraising

We raised $1500 to support our legal challenge at the 2nd Annual Blues Brews and BBQ! Thanks to everyone who came to the show, and especially the volunteers and sponsors that made it possible!