A development company and the province have teetered closer to disaster for the Jumbo Valley with the latest move toward paving the wilderness valley high in the Purcell Range.

The Environmental Assessment Office has released the developer’s “compliance self-report.”  Glacier Resorts Ltd. claims in its filing to have completed or “be on track for completion” for all of the commitments relevant to the first phase of destruction of the Jumbo wilderness. Community activists have defended the area for over 20 years, but the developer claims to have met all the necessary requirements to proceed with construction. The province will now review the self-report and follow up on some items – what exactly is yet to be seen. The full self-report can be reviewed on the Environmental Assessment Office website in PDF.

Glacier Resorts has made it clear that its plan for meeting the October 12 deadline for “substantive commencement” of the resort is a costly road to nowhere that will be maintained by BC taxpayers. Indeed, over 100 culverts are proposed to cross Jumbo Creek, Toby Creek, and many other waterways for a road that would wind its way from the existing Panorama ski resort up to the proposed resort site.  Glacier Resorts plans to rely on roads approved and designed in 2006 as part of the master planning process.

Although the Environmental Assessment Office appears to have opened the door for construction to begin, there are many roadblocks yet to be surmounted. The road, which will cross over 100 known avalance paths, would be required to meet stringent provincial standards. Placement of culverts and bridges would have to take place during the allowed in-stream work window to protect fish habitat. And, of course, the project is still dogged by legal questions about the legitimacy of the Jumbo resort municipality and its responsibility to the Ktunaxa Nation.