Background

The Jumbo Valley is a relatively undisturbed area in the Purcell Mountains, part of the Columbia Mountain Range in southeast British Columbia. The range is home to numerous sensitive species and is part of a wildlife corridor that stretches from the Yukon to Yellowstone.

The Jumbo Glacier Resort was first proposed in 1991. Over time, the plans for the resort came to include a total area of 6300 hectares in three distinct basins. The development plan calls for up to 6500 bed units in the form of condos, hotels, and single family houses. To support such a large population, the proposal also includes nightclubs, gas stations, grocery stores, and all the other components of a small city. The ski resort is conceived as a year-round ski destination with 21-23 ski lifts and a gondola criss-crossing the mountains.

The opposition to the planned resort was instantaneous and vocal. The environmental assessment process solicited feedback from stakeholders, and more than three thousand people wrote in, with over 90% of the responses negative. Protests, marches, and even a glacier-based symphony performance have rallied support for keeping the Jumbo valley wild. An independent public opinion in 2012 found that 65% of respondents in the East Kootenay remain opposed to the development of the resort.