It’s been a Wild summer at Jumbo! The Jumbo Wild! camp was established on July 24 and has been continuously occupied ever since, thanks to some hale and hearty activists from both sides of the Purcells. The municipality approved zoning for a boutique lodge in the Farnham Valley back in the spring, and the developer Glacier Resorts Limited advertised for cat-skiing and sight seeing all summer. We have been concerned that the developer has a number of commitments to the people and province of BC before any operations or construction could possibly start. We submitted a letter to the province outlining our concerns, and have recently learned that the Environmental Assessment Office is investigating the developer’s plans. 

Meanwhile, a group of activists confronted the developer’s agent while he was travelling up the Farnham road with a small excavator on August 10. The developer and his contracted workers elected not to continue past the camp. The RCMP then notified the campers that they were recommending mischief charges against two of the camp residents involved in the peaceful confrontation. On August 16th, the developer returned to the camp to give notice that a civil case had been filed against the campers for blocking the road, with a court date in Vancouver on August 19th, the following Monday. Fortunately, the campers were able to find a lawyer in Vancouver who arranged for a one-week delay.

When the case came back to court, the developer saw the evidence presented by the camp and asked for an adjournment. If the case goes forward (which is still possible), the case could revolve around whether the developer’s intent was lawful. Since the developer swore in an affidavit that their intent was to cut a road into the glacier, we contend that their intent was prohibited by their commitments under the Master Development Agreement. We were so concerned about the developer’s apparent willingness to ignore their commitments that we wrote a letter to the province asking them to look into it. The Environmental Assessment Office is now investigating, and we expect a report any day. The developer is so threatened by the camp’s monitoring of their activities, that the developer has threatened to go back to court to forbid anyone from observing or recording what they are doing. 

As for EcoSociety’s case against the puppet municipality, we finally got a response from the municipality on September 4. Keep in mind that we filed our application for judicial review on February 19. It only took them 6 months to come up with a rationalization of their appointed city council and municipality with no one in it. We are now working with the courts to set a date for a judge to review the situation. We are confident that any judge will review this case and agree that there is a reason that municipalities should have residents, and that city councils should be elected by those residents instead of appointed by a minister. The court documents reveal that the developer had hoped to begin construction on a $4 million backcountry lodge in the Farnham Valley this summer, despite the laundry list of reports and studies that they are committed to produce before construction can begin.

So far, it looks like the combined efforts of dozens of volunteers and activists has succeeded. There is no new development at Jumbo, the EAO is investigating potential violations of legally-binding commitments, and two lawsuits are slated for the winter months. Meanwhile, the developer must make “substantial progress” on the resort before October 12, 2014 in order to maintain environmental certification. It looks like after more than 20 years, we are down to the end game!  

We’ll need your help to win our legal case and protect Jumbo. If you can spare a little money for the campaign, every dollar is much appreciated.  Click here to donate online.