About 250 people took part in a Jumbo Wild rally at the Invermere Community Hall last night.
A downtown demonstration preceded a gathering in the hall, where a series of speakers declared their intent to keep fighting against the Glacier Resort Ltd. proposal to build a $1 billion ski resort in the Jumbo Creek Valley, 55 km west of Invermere.
Emcee Bob Campsall introduced speakers and filled in the gaps between, offering views and tidbits of information on the resort proposal, the lack of public involvement in the processes and urged those who oppose the project, which received provincial government approval on its Master
Development Agreement (MDA) March 20, to keep fighting.
Campsall railed against the provincial government, operating from “a brick castle on an island in the Pacific Ocean” for not having the courage to make its announcement in the community closest to the proposed 6,250 bed resort, which states its will provide year-round skiing on the glaciers surrounding Jumbo Valley.
Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area G director Gerry Wilkie reminded those in attendance that nothing has happened beyond signatures on paper and land use decisions must yet be made, and public process will be part and parcel of that when and if it is launched by the proponents.
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald (pictured above) received a floor-shaking round of applause when he declared the current provincial government is on its last legs and nothing has been lost in the fight against Jumbo Glacier Resort.
Samantha Sam, after greeting the two-thirds packed hall with the traditional Ktunaxa welcome, also received a roaring ovation when she echoed the words of opposition from the Ktunaxa Nation and Akisqnuk First Nation.
A common theme among the speakers was that nothing has changed despite the signing of the MDA and the fight was only now just beginning, made clear by Kimberley’s Dave Quinn, who clomped to the front of the hall to speak in ski boots.
“I’m a skier!” He proudly proclaimed, then asked those in attendance to signal if they were skiers. More than half the crowd raised their hands. Quinn’s point was that even skiers don’t like the idea of a new resort.
International ski coach and veteran glacier skier Helmut Spiegl told the crowd that skiing on glaciers doesn’t work in the summertime, based on his experiences skiing in Jumbo and on Farnham Glaciers while working with Alpine Canada. He wished would-be investors and proponents of the resort good luck in trying to do so.
Perhaps the most qualified person to speak about skiing on Jumbo’s glaciers – RK Heli-Ski general manager Rod Gibbons – received a roar of approval when he told a story about recently guiding representatives with Companie des Alpes (Euronext: CDA) and France Neige International, two potential investors conducting due diligence, that the majority of people in the Kootenays do not support the concept of a resort in the Jumbo Valley.
Legendary mountaineer and film-maker Pat Morrow, the first person to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents, stated that the Alpine Club of Canada remains opposed to the Jumbo area being disturbed for such a project.
Another legendary Columbia Valley athlete, 82-year-old Doug Anakin, gold medal winner in bobsleigh in the 1964 Winter Olympics, reminded the audience that a lengthy list of national and international class athletes and Olympians have gone on record in opposition to the resort, including Cranbrook’s Scott Niedermayer, Beckie Scott, Sara Renner and others.
A number of other speakers, from Golden to Kimberley, took to the front of the hall to declare their intentions to keep opposing the resort and declaring why they believe it will be bad for the valley and region, including District of Invermere Coun. Paul Denchuk who he believes the majority of council still opposes the project and a previous motion made by the district opposing the resort stands strong.
Adding to the voices was a graduating David Thompson Secondary School who declared she would rather Jumbo be left alone so locals can ski for free.
Noting he’s been venturing into Jumbo since 1949, Nolan Rad repeated his oft-stated view that the high alpine valley is home to many more grizzly bears than the proponents and supporters state exist in the area, and also repeated a statement he made back in 1991 when the first public gathering was held in the Invermere Community Hall.
“To these people – developers – their wallets are their churches and money is their religion,” he said.
The evening concluded with film images of the Jumbo/Farnham areas, courtesy of mountaineer Arnor Larson.
Tags: Akisqnuk First NationAlpine Club of CanadaBeckie ScottBob CampsallDoug AnakinGerry WilkieGlacier Resort LtdHelmut SpieglInvermere Community HallJohn BergenskeJumbo Creek ValleyJumbo WildKtunaxa NationMaster Development AgreementMLA Norm MacdonaldNolan RadPat MorrowPaul DenchukRegional District of East KootenayRK Heli SkiRod GibbonsSamantha SamSara RennerScott NiedermayerWildsight
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