3293465641_b6c5081e87_z.jpg

West Kootenay EcoSociety to Challenge Incorporation of Jumbo Municipality in B.C. Supreme Court

With a construction deadline looming this Sunday, Jumbo Glacier Resort is also facing two legal challenges — an appeal from the Ktunaxa Nation, emboldened by the ground-breaking Tsilhqot’in decision, and another lesser known challenge from West Kootenay EcoSociety.

The Nelson-based non-profit group is challenging the incorporation of Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality.

The municipality, with no residents and no buildings, was created by the provincial government after an amendment to the Local Government Act. The province then appointed a mayor and two councillors who make decisions on planning and zoning for the resort, but, under the Letters Patent, they are bound to follow the provincially approved resort Master Plan.

EcoSociety executive director David Reid said a B.C Supreme Court date is expected before the end of the year. The petition asks the court to quash the incorporation and strike down legislative amendments that allowed creation of the municipality.

“The idea is that a city should have citizens. This is undermining the ability of our region to participate in democracy – otherwise the people of East Kootenay would have input into the planning process,” he said.

Jumbo council is not accountable to voters, so the public is disenfranchised, Reid said.

“It also creates a precedent. If (the court action) fails, it means they could create a municipality anywhere.”

That could mean, if a mine or resource extraction company could not gain local support, the province could get around rules by creating a municipality in the area where no one was living, Reid speculated.

“The opportunity for abuse is enormous.”

Tommaso Oberti, vice president of Pheidias Project Management Corp., the company that came up with the Jumbo vision and design, said the process has been democratic as the Regional District of East Kootenay voted to ask the province to create a resort municipality.

“This is democracy. The regional government (which was Jumbo Glacier Resort’s local government at the time) decided that it was beneficial to the region for the project to be administered locally, as opposed to being administered from Cranbrook,” Oberti said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Image: Brian Turner

New title

You’ve read all the way to the bottom of this article. That makes you some serious Narwhal material.

And since you’re here, we have a favour to ask. Our independent, ad-free journalism is made possible because the people who value our work also support it (did we mention our stories are free for all to read, not just those who can afford to pay?).

As a non-profit, reader-funded news organization, our goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. And at a time when most news organizations have been laying off reporters, we’ve hired eight journalists over the past year.

Not only are we filling a void in environment coverage, but we’re also telling stories differently — by centring Indigenous voices, by building community and by doing it all as a people-powered, non-profit outlet supported by more than 2,500 members

The truth is we wouldn’t be here without you. Every single one of you who reads and shares our articles is a crucial part of building a new model for Canadian journalism that puts people before profit.

We know that these days the world’s problems can feel a *touch* overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like what we do doesn’t make any difference, but becoming a member of The Narwhal is one small way you truly can make a difference.

We’ve drafted a plan to make 2021 our biggest year yet, but we need your support to make it all happen.

If you believe news organizations should report to their readers, not advertisers or shareholders, please become a monthly member of The Narwhal today for any amount you can afford.

Judith Lavoie is an award-winning journalist based in Victoria, British Columbia. Lavoie covered environment and First Nations stories for the…

‘Localized harassment’: RCMP patrol Wet’suwet’en territory despite UN calls for withdrawal

On Valentine’s Day, a small group of Wet’suwet’en people gathered outside a Coastal GasLink pipeline work camp in northwest B.C. to hold a ceremony to...

Continue reading

Recent Posts

Help power our ad-free, non‑profit journalism
Get The Narwhal in your inbox!

People always tell us they love our newsletter. Find out yourself with a weekly dose of our ad‑free, independent journalism