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Posted: December 24, 2015

Jumbo suing province

By Ian Cobb


Merry Christmas B.C. – you’re getting a Jumbo lawsuit!

Glacier Resort Ltd. (GRL/Jumbo) Dec. 17 filed a petition to the Supreme Court of British Columbia against the Minister of Environment (Mary Polak) regarding her decision to not renew the company’s Environment Assessment Certificate on the grounds that a “substantial start” had not been achieved on the given deadline of Oct. 12, 2014. Polak announced her determination on June 18 (2015).

In its petition GRL is demanding Polak’s ruling be “quashed and set aside.”

Environment Minister Mary Polak
Environment Minister Mary Polak

The Vancouver-based company that has spent 25 years seeking to build a four-season ski resort in the Jumbo Valley, 55 km west of Invermere, asserts it’s the province’s fault it didn’t establish substantial infrastructure and the guideposts were not realistic, considering the scope of the work to be done in phase one of the approximate $1 billion project.

“Due to circumstances beyond Glacier Resorts’ control, and at least partly within the control of the province, only very limited construction at the project site could be carried out as of October 2014,” GRL states on the petion.

It blames the province for not granting a Master Development Agreement (MDA) in connection with the project until March 2012, “well after expiry of the initial five-year term of the certificate and three years into the extension period. Prior to the grant of the MDA almost no construction was possible at the project site” and the company was ready all through that period to begin construction any time, it says.

It also blames the province for the tiny amount of work done prior to the certificate expiry because it only created the Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality until November 2012.

This forced the new municipality, with no residents or actual buildings, to race to create land uses processes, an official community plan and zoning bylaws.

“Those steps remain in process, with the municipality’s official community plan expected to be complete in early 2016,” GRL states, adding, “as a result, only very limited construction was possible prior to creation by the municipality of land uses processes. The associated delays in ability to carry out construction at the project site was entirely beyond Glacier Resorts’ control.”

To facilitate the establishment of the Jumbo municipality, the province is providing $1 million over five years to the company.

GRL also points out in its petition that there are only eight weeks a year suitable for construction in the high elevation of the Jumbo Valley, which further limited its ability to build.

Among numerous other GRL assertions that the province wronged the company is it questions Polak’s decision because she is friends with Ktunaxa Nation Council (KNC) Chair Kathryn Teneese.

“The representatives of the province advised the minister is ‘close friends’ with Kathryn Teneese, of the KNC, the primary opponent of the project, and asked whether Glacier Resorts was aware of that fact. Glacier Resorts was not aware of that fact (section 105 in the petition).

“The intended and, alternatively, only reasonable objective inference to be drawn from the latter statement is that the decision was influenced by matters irrelevant to the question of whether the project had been substantially started,” GRL states.

Costs are also listed as a want in GRL’s petition.

Click HERE to review the full court petition.

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