Valley ‘leaders’ ask Clark to approve Jumbo
A group of Columbia Valley “community leaders,” comprised of elected officials, formerly elected officials and business owners/managers, is urging Premier Christy Clark to approve the Jumbo Glacier Resort project.
In a June 26 letter the group urges Clark “to finalize” the process and allow for the construction of the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort project.
“We, community leaders in the Columbia Valley, urge you and your colleagues to finalize the Jumbo Glacier Resort process. Voters here need to see action from their government. This shovel-ready project is tailor made to demonstrate that you intend to achieve jobs for families here in rural British Columbia as well as in coastal shipyards and northern mines.
You inspire us to look outwards to Asia, and the opportunities to serve their growing middle class people who want what we have to offer. We are writing to urge you to take action on these priorities, in the interest of families in the Kootenay region,” the letter opens.
“The Jumbo Glacier project, which has, over 20 years, passed all regulatory hurdles, awaits only Minister Thompson’s official’s signature. Jumbo received an Environmental Certificate in 2004, an approved Master Plan in 2007 and in 2008 Glacier signed an historic Impact Management and Benefits Agreement with the nearest First Nation, the Shuswap Indian Band.
“Jumbo is ready for private investors to build the most spectacular year round alpine resort in the world, right here in British Columbia. Young athletes and visitors from here and afar, will enjoy incredible mountain sightseeing and skiing, year-round. Our investment in the Olympics created the anticipation – now is the time to deliver.
“The economy in our community has been has been hit hard by the recent recession.
“We have been through recessions in the past and have rebounded because we are a resilient and hard working people here in the Columbia Valley. Our region comprises 40% of the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding population and has consistently supported the free enterprise candidate in every election in the past 30 years.
“But this time it is different. The forest industry is gone, with mill closures and job losses. The second home industry has been devastated, with hundreds of jobs, contractors and trades gone forever. These losses have a ripple effect on suppliers, small businesses and even school enrolments. With our primary and secondary industries wiped out or stalled, we turn to tourism as the next major economic driver in the Kootenay Rockies.
Through private investment we have created a network of ski and golf resorts which have resulted in overall growth in this sector of our economy in the last 10 years.
“Now, with the HST and property transfer tax handicapping our recreation developments across the regional markets we compete in such as Alberta, Montana, Idaho and other popular U.S. destinations, we are looking for a way forward.
“We need to attract more investment capital to modernize our tourism infrastructure in order to out-perform the competition in attracting visitors from the region and beyond; from China, Asia, Mexico and South America where there are rapidly expanding economies.
“We need your help to build the single most significant tourism infrastructure proposal in this province in the last 20 years; the Jumbo Glacier Resort Glacier Dome gondola. This unique sightseeing and skiing facility will combine the drawing power of Lake Louise and the Columbia Ice Fields into one iconic destination and will provide us with the investment and jobs the families in our community need so desperately.
“Premier Clark, we are not asking you for money, or even sympathy. We ask you for a fair and honourable outcome from a clear policy process so that the investment community maintains faith in British Columbia. We ask you for a signature. That’s all: Sincerely,
The undersigned – Doug Clovechok, President of the BC Liberals Columbia River-Revelstoke constituency, Fairmont Hot Springs; Dee Conklin, Mayor of the Village of Radium Hot Springs; Greg Deck owner of Canyon RV Resort, Radium Hot Springs; Rohit Gupta, owner Copper Point Golf Resort and chief financial officer Rohit Group of Companies, Edmonton, Alta.; Richard Haworth, vice-president development at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort; Rick Jensen, president and CEO of Panorama Mountain Village and Greywolf Golf Course; John Lagadin, president of Copper Point and The Ridge Golf Courses, Invermere; Robert Loeppky, vice-president, Western Canada Atlific Hotels; Managers Copper Point Resort, Invermere; Dean Martin, chief executive officer Kinbasket Group of Companies, Invermere; Doug McIntosh, partner in Lake Windermere Pointe and president of Radium Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce; Allen Miller dealer/owner Home Hardware, Invermere Hardware and Building Supplies Co. Ltd.; Todd Mitchell, general manager/owner Best Western Invermere Inn; Paul Sam, Chief, Shuswap Indian Band; Wilda Schab, general manager, Radium Resort; Terry Shein, vice president and general manager Stone Creek Resort Operations, Eagle Ranch Golf Resort, Stone Creek Resorts Inc., Canmore Alta.; Susan Smith, executive director of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce.
A few Columbia Valley leaders are taking exception to the letter, including District of Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft.
“Many people I have spoken with are insulted and disgusted that the authors of the letter claim to represent and speak on their behalf. Employing people or investing money in an area does not automatically make one an authority or a representative of the local population,” Taft told e-KNOW.
“I sincerely hope that the leadership of the British Columbia Government understands this fact. The fact remains that the people of Invermere and the Columbia Valley have never had the opportunity to comment on the future land uses in the Jumbo Valley as would be legally required in any other real estate development in the province. If the province and the authors of the letter would like to hear what the residents of Invermere and the Columbia Valley feel on the proposed Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort, than allow the land uses to be discussed and voted on by local government, with the normal processes for public hearings being followed,” he suggested.
Regional District of East Kootenay Electoral Area G director Gerry Wilkie said he spoke against the letter, which has been dubbed ‘the secret letter’ and ‘the secret 16’ in reference to the 16 names attached to it by some valley folk, during the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in September.
“I think we could probably find 44 prominent Columbia Valley citizens to write a letter to the Premier and tell her we don’t want it (Jumbo),” Wilkie scoffed.
“I was shocked to see that so many people I’ve never heard of before were listed as leading people of our community,” laughed out-going Invermere Coun. Bob Campsall and founding member of the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society.