“Zombie” project cannot proceed after Court rules Minister’s decision must stand
VANCOUVER, August 6, 2019 – Ecojustice is celebrating a win for Jumbo Valley, an area of B.C.’s Purcell mountains that is critical grizzly bear habitat and sacred to the Ktunaxa Nation. Today, the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that the original decision of the Minister of Environment, that the project’s environmental assessment certificate was expired as the project had not been “substantially started”, should be reinstated. Without a certificate, Glacier cannot undertake any construction or operation of the project, and cannot obtain provincial approvals needed for the project. Until Glacier Resorts successfully completes a new environmental assessment process, this resort project is dead.
For years, Ecojustice, on behalf of clients Wildsight and Jumbo Creek Conservation Society, has fought Glacier Resorts on this “zombie” project, whose environmental assessment is now more than a decade out of date.
Olivia French, lawyer for Ecojustice, said:
“Projects that have a significant environmental impact, like Glacier Ltd.’s proposed Jumbo Valley Resort, must be assessed using current information, not data more than a decade out of date. Respecting the expiration dates of environmental assessments is essential, because scientific understanding and best practices can change dramatically in a decade.
“It stands to reason that developers can’t be allowed to hang on to an Environmental Certificate for ever. The original assessment for this project was conducted in the 1990s, and was based on information which is now outdated. The law in B.C. requires project proponents to start their projects within ten years of receiving their certificates to ensure that up to date information and the best technology is used to avoid the harmful impacts of large projects like these.
“Ecojustice has spent years fighting the Jumbo Glacier Resort. For the time being, the Jumbo Valley is safe, as the project can’t proceed without going through environmental assessment again. Given the current state of grizzly bears in the region, and the opposition of the Ktunaxa First Nation, it’s hard to conceive of any viable future for this project.”
Olivia French, lawyer | Ecojustice
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