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 Posted in    |  on July 27th, 2012  |  by

Ktunaxa to take province to court over Jumbo decision

By Kate Irwin, Pioneer Staff
With files from Kelsey Verboom

The Ktunaxa Nation has announced plans to take the Province of British Columbia to court over the approval issued on March 20th allowing development of Jumbo Glacier Resort to move ahead.

On Tuesday, July 24th, the Ktunaxa Nation, of which the local Akisqnuk Band are part, made a formal announcement of their plans to seek a judicial review into the process by which the Jumbo decision was made.

The First Nation group says that the development will allow desecration of a sacred site, as the Jumbo Valley is home to their Grizzly Bear Spirit, Qat’muk.

“Throughout the consultation process, the Ktunaxa Nation clearly and consistently indicated that proceeding with the resort would destroy the spiritual, cultural and environmental values of Qat’muk. Yet, [the government] did not hear our words,” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Chair.

“We now have no other choice but to challenge the B.C. government’s decision-making process.”

In a judicial review, a Supreme Court judge examines a decision made by an administrative tribunal or administrative decision-maker, in this case, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The legal process, if it moves ahead, will not focus on whether the decision to grant Glacier Resorts Ltd. approval of its Resort Master Development Agreement was correct. Instead, the focus will be on examining the process by which the decision was made and the Ktunaxa’s claim that their interests were not given proper consideration.

“A consultation agreement was signed between Ktunaxa and the province, and the agreed-upon process was followed,” said Brennan Clarke, Public Affairs Officer for the ministry. “Following the minister’s decision the Ktunaxa stated they plan to examine their legal options, so the announcement they plan to seek a judicial review was not unexpected.”

The decision over Jumbo took more than 20 years for the province to make and included “comprehensive and exhaustive reviews,” including meetings with the First Nations groups, he stated.

“The sacred nature of the Jumbo Valley was considered as part of the decision, and helped shape the B.C. government’s intention to establish a Grizzly bear wildlife management area,” Mr. Clarke added.

Any judicial review applicant, like the Ktunaxa, does not have an automatic right to a review. In this case, the Supreme Court will only allow the review to go ahead if it doesn’t believe the Jumbo decision had a procedurally fair hearing.

The Ktunaxa — who said they will file their petition within a week and are seeking public help with legal costs — have already missed the 60-day deadline under which an applicant may challenge the original decision.

The court will consider extending that deadline, depending on the amount of time passed and the reason for the delay, and providing a review will not cause hardship to persons affected by the delay.

As Glacier Resorts Ltd. is concentrating on planning over the next 12 months, it is unlikely their activities will be affected by the possible judicial review.

“We have a lot of detailed planning to do over the next year which will continue,” said Grant Costello, senior vice-president of Glacier Resorts Ltd. “Until we see the actual appeal we won’t know if we are named along with the Province … so we won’t be commenting.”

The resort developer is not unfamiliar with legal challenges against the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort.

In 2005, Panorama’s R.K. Heliski petitioned for a judicial review into the decision granting Glacier Resorts an Environmental Assessment Certificate in October 2004.

The review, which took four days to complete, examined R.K.’s claim that their interests were not properly considered when the certificate was granted. The Supreme Court ultimately dismissed the petition.

Kate Irwin
Email: kate@cv-pioneer.com
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Reporter Kate Irwin hails from England, where she graduated from the University of Sheffield with a journalism degree. Originally in the Columbia Valley to teach skiing, Kate fell in love with the beautiful mountain scenery and relaxed valley lifestyle and decided to make this her home. She enjoys spending time skiing, fishing and playing poker.

5 Responses to Ktunaxa to take province to court over Jumbo decision

  1. David R Pacey says:

    Dear Editor, If you choose to publish this as a letter to the editor, by all means, proceed.
    David R Pacey

    Very good and fair reporting Kate Irwin on this topic. You balanced the views very well.
    As an aside which you might have included is the fact that the Supreme Court of CANADA which holds sway over the provinces as well as Canada, has stated years ago that the views and position of an affected Indian band HAS to be considered before any decision be made, whether for mining, logging, road construction or ski resort is approved or disapproved. This process has been imlimented by the provincial governement for years now. This same consultation is also including “spritual” concerns.
    Over two years of consultations is normally deemed to be more than satisfactory by the Supreme Court of Canada.
    If Teneese and friends want to spend monies fighting a decision, that is their perogative. They did not ” get their cookie ” that they wanted, so they have the legal right to challenge the system and the process. No problem with that attitude.
    But let us understand what is the real root issue is here,,, They, Teneese and friends did not get the “cookie ” / decision they desired so they are now going to throw a hissy-fit in the courts. I would hope the courts, when they make their decision, award costs appropriately.
    Teneese and friends are doing exactly what the anti cull group caused towards Invermere and the scourge of deer. Money, money, money wasted. But that I guess is fine as Teneese and friends are asking for someone else to pay for their fight.
    Ironic ? you bet.

  2. Bill Baerg says:

    I find it a shame that the Ktunaxa leadership have not and are not as thorough in their evaluation of the management of their own real resource and crowning achievement, St Eugene Mission Resort. It is especially appalling to see the vision and sacrifice of so many being ignored, belittled and squandered by successive management teams over the past 7 years. Here is where the leadership could hold someone accountable for the mismanagement of some real and tangible assets. Here is where they could be making some real effective differences in the lives and aspirations of their people. Here is where they should take ownership of an issue and continue to show their tenacious perseverance and hopes for the future.

  3. Beverley O'Neil says:

    I am no longer surpised by remarks as the ones submitted by David Pacey and Bill Baerg (two people who I don’t recall are originally from the area, my hometown and that traditional lands of my ancestors).

    There’s more to what has gone on for the MORE than 20 years than a reporter can cover in 700 words or less. Does it not raise anyone’s eye brows that this project was for more than 20 years pursued? What business and who really has the level of resources to pursue this? Don’t you wonder if there is more behind this story than can be reported or is known? Panorama never provided the economic benefit to Invermere and other valley businesses that people expected, and that ski hill is much closer than Jumbo.

    To Bill Baerg – shame to you on your comment of ‘shame’, the St. Eugene Mission Resort employs more than 300 people in peak season, many of these people are non-Aboriginal people, and it is a profitable establishment, providing tens of thousands of donations to local charities, and giving the Ktunaxa people (other First Nations) a point of pride and accomplishment, especially for turning something negative into something positive… I challenge you to be able to do this if you experienced the same abuse as so many First Nations people did while in a residential school – shame on you for speaking with an ignorant mind.

    Instead of chastising the Ktunaxa, you should be praising us for having the ‘perseverance and hopes’ and beliefs that good values and ethics will prevail, and that the future of these lands, resources, wildlife, and people will NOT be traded for a few ‘token’ jobs, at the expense of the environment. The Ktunaxa have never been against development and advancement, we’ve been against BAD developments and decisions, especially ones based on faulty information and measures. There is a difference.

    • howard says:

      Good for Bev. Her comments ring very true.

    • itsgonnafly says:

      These comments by Beverly are typical of the opposition to this resort since the beginning. Innuendo about some hidden agenda, no facts to support statements and pathetic & illogical arguments.

      O’Neill argues Jumbo is a bad development and that the 20 years to get to this point is some reflection of this.

      The fact is CORE and the EAO review provided immense opportunities for opponents to provide facts to support their opposition.

      They were unable through 20 years of reviews to support their arguments against. Just like O’Neill is unable to do here.

      The biggest threat to the environment is these radical environmentalists. They blindly fought this project with no regard for the truth.

      The Green Taliban failed to kill Jumbo!

      They are the 21st Century’s Flat Earth Society…they lost because they are wrong.

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