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Posted: April 24, 2015

Costello tweet disputes avalanche report

By Chris Conway

Grant Costello, Senior Vice-President of Glacier Resorts Ltd., used social media last week to seemingly contradict the findings of the company’s avalanche consultant report.

The report was commissioned by Glacier Resorts Ltd. and prepared by Dynamic Avalanche Consulting based in Revelstoke. Last fall the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) required a detailed avalanche risk assessment from Glacier Resorts, after RK Heliski and a separate avalanche study both warned of an avalanche risk to buildings under construction at the resort.

At the time Glacier Resorts used Twitter to publicly dispute RK Heliski’s submission that the day lodge foundation had been placed in an avalanche path. Those tweets were directed to various media reporters and politicians. It is unclear who in the company made those tweets.

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According to Dynamic’s report, dated March 19, the Pink Panther avalanche path in the upper Jumbo Valley, 55 km west of Invermere, is capable of producing large destructive avalanches capable of destroying buildings and swaths of forest. Dynamic determined that foundation slabs for a day lodge and a service building were located in the avalanche path.

Last week the Dynamic report became public. Costello initially declined an opportunity to comment. However, on April 17 he tweeted what appears to be a challenge to the Dynamic report findings.

“First winter lunch at new #JumboGlacierResort #daylodge site,” tweeted Costello. “200 meters from #Pink Panther #avalanche zone.”

CC CostelloTweet2The tweet included a photograph of what appears to be five people and a helicopter at the Jumbo day lodge location.

Costello and Glacier Resorts were separately contacted for comment on the latest tweet and asked to explain the reason for apparently disputing the Dynamic report. Neither Costello nor the company responded.

However, on April 20, Costello’s tweet was deleted and replaced with a new one: “lunch at #jumboglacier daylodge,” tweeted Costello, using the same photograph. “200 metres from centre of #pinkpanther avalanche zone.”

By the next morning that tweet had also been deleted.

Alan Jones of Dynamic Avalanche Consulting advised that Glacier Resorts has not conveyed to him any disagreement with the findings of their report. “They are fully satisfied with the report and will make use of it, as needed,” wrote Jones in an email.

Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality (JGMRM) was also contacted for comment but did not respond. JGMRM is in process to adopt an Official Community Plan (OCP).

Last week the municipality abruptly cancelled its April council meeting (scheduled for April 21). No reason was given.

A decision remains pending from Environment Minister Mary Polak as to whether Glacier Resorts Ltd. has met the legally-binding EA certificate conditions and substantially started the project.

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