Last summer, EcoSociety and four other organizations signed on to a letter asking the Ministry of Environment and the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to investigate potential violations of the proponent’s commitments. 

Click here to read the letter.

The Ministry and the EAO have been commendable in responding to our inquiries, though it remains to be seen how well the conditions are enforced. The Ministry found that creating cat tracks on the glacier does not constitute the type of “artificial modification” that is prohibited by the Environmental Certificate. However, the Ministry found that road building could constitute “construction” of the type that would require a number of other studies and reports to be completed. The Ministry also responded to our concern about contaminated soil and access ( (PDF)).

The developer has committed to completing various studies regarding avalanche risk, grizzly bear management, bird life and mountain goat habitat, among others. According to the Environmental Certificate, these must be completed before construction can begin. We have learned, however, that the Jumbo “Municipality” is prepared to issue a building permit for the proposed lodge at Farnham Glacier (click here for an area map). So our question is how can the EAO ensure that these conditions are met?

The EAO  (PDF) that the Ministry uses a variety of penalties, fines, stop-work-orders and the like to enforce the conditions. They are researching the original document to try to understand the intent of the conditions, and are awaiting the proponent’s “self-report” regarding progress toward the conditions so far. 

These conditions are incredibly important, because they protect the fragile alpine environment. If the conditions are ignored or subverted, irreparable harm could be done to the environment. Because the developer is under enormous pressure to start construction before the Environmental Certificate expires in Occtober 2014, we will need to be extra vigilant to make sure that the conditions are met to the letter.