VANCOUVER -- The provincial cabinet approved the incorporation of Jumbo as a mountain resort on Tuesday, thrilling developers and the B.C. tourism industry, but angering First Nations groups and conservationists.
Although the $450-million resort community has no residents yet, the province appointed Jumbo’s first mayor, Greg Dick, and councillors Nancy Hugunin and Steve Ostrander.
The resort has been at the centre of a storm the past two decades, as environmentalists clashed with developers who promised jobs and lucrative tourism.
“The resort will be a game changer for B.C. tourism,” said B.C. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO John Winter.
One First Nations group has threatened to fight the development in court.
“This once again shows the disdain demonstrated by the B.C. government towards our spiritual beliefs and the foundations of our culture,” said Ktunaxa Nation chairwoman Kathryn Teneese.
On Nov. 30, the Ktunaxa Nation will file an application for judicial review of the approval to determine whether information they supplied to the government was given “full consideration” in the decision-making process.
“The government made a huge grant of taxpayer-owned land to very wealthy developers,” said Anne Sherrod of the Valhalla Wilderness Society. “As a result, taxpayers will be saddled with the costs of developing roads, ensuring proper avalanche control and other municipal costs for a resort out in the middle of the wilderness.”
Located 55 kilometres west of Invermere, at the foot of Jumbo Mountain and Jumbo Glacier, the resort will ultimately include 5,500 units over the 104-hectare area. The province said the development will generate 3,750 person years of construction employment and create 750-800 permanent full-time jobs.