VANCOUVER – Environmental and conservation groups issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s decision that the Minister of Environment must reconsider whether the Jumbo Glacier Project can proceed:
Alan Andrews, Ecojustice said:
“The Court has ruled that the minister’s decision that the Jumbo Glacier Project had not “substantially started” by the ten year deadline was unreasonable because it did not take into account the delays that Glacier faced that were beyond its control.
“The Court has ordered the minister to reconsider his decision so our clients will now have an opportunity to tell the other side of the story. Far from doing everything it could in the time available, Glacier sat on its hands until the last minute then made some last-ditch token efforts to show progress.
“Our clients will continue to engage with the minister to ensure he has the full picture and does not allow a project to go ahead based on an environmental assessment that is years past its sell-by date.
“Hopefully this ruling will encourage the government to deliver on its promise to fix B.C.’s broken environmental assessment laws to restore public trust in the system and ensure that decisions with a major impact on our environment are based on sound science.”
John Bergenske, Wildsight:
“We are deeply disappointed that the Court has sent back the government’s decision which had put the Jumbo Glacier Resort Project on ice.
“There’s a lot in the decision about the slow-moving bureaucratic process, but having been deeply involved in this fight for years, we know that Glacier’s own delays in meeting the deadline were a major factor.
“The construction of this project would fragment a critical section of one of North America’s most important wildlife corridors— an area grizzlies depend on to maintain healthy populations regionally and even continentally. We remain committed to doing all that we can to ensure this region is protected.”
Jim Galloway, Jumbo Creek Conservation Society said:
“This project has been proposed in one form or another for more than 25 years and has been opposed by communities and groups every step of the way. The developer has had more than sufficient time to get the project off the ground but failed to do so. Despite the Court’s decision requiring the minister to reconsider this Project’s future, we will continue to fight this project and are committed to keeping Jumbo wild.”
The Jumbo Valley’s considered a sacred place by the Ktunaxa Nation, whose members call the area Qat’muk and believe that the spirit of the grizzly bear dwells there.
Ecojustice represented Jumbo Creek Conservation Society and Wildsight in the three-day hearing that took place in June 2018. The three groups also previously made submissions in the public hearing that led to the B.C. environment minister’s decision that Glacier had failed to “substantially start” work by a 2014 deadline. This decision resulted in the expiration of Glacier’s environmental assessment certificate.