By Dan Walton
The first reading of Jumbo Glacier Resorts official community plan was carried at the municipalitys regular council meeting on Tuesday, January 27th while an online petition opposing the resort is also gaining traction.
Council had the option of going ahead with second reading, but decided to pursue community consultation before moving forward. The draft plan proposes how the resorts development will be carried out. The official community plan can be seen online at www.tinyurl.com/qe6sapp.
As of Wednesday, January 28th, the online petition titled Save Endangered Grizzly Bears from Jumbo Ski Resort (visit http://goo.gl/y0kohS) had garnered almost 105,000 signatures from around the world. The petition is targeted at Premier Christy Clark and the Environmental Assessment Office of B.C.
Ann Ward, the founder of the petition who lives back east and has not visited the Jumbo Valley, says the land is needed for the grizzly population in the Jumbo Valley, not development.
When I read what was happening there, I felt compelled to start the petition. I originally set the target number for signatures at 10,000, but then it just took off! she told The Pioneer. Its long past time for corporations and developers to think about the impact they are leaving on the earth. Knowing that the decision to build is based on antiquated information compounds this unjust matter.
Although Jumbo Glacier Resorts has stated they examined the effects its resort will have on the area grizzly bear population and determined there will be little impact; they are using scientific data that is over 15 years old! reads the overview of the petition.
But Jumbo mayor Greg Deck says the petition doesnt address the facts. Mr. Deck said the highest degree of precaution will be taken in developing the area, and that the lands designation as a municipality will protect the health of the grizzly bear population.
There wont be the same kind of regular hunting that has been permitted historically.
He said that the municipalitys layout, garbage management, and vegetation restrictions have all been strictly planned to minimize interaction.
Everything is being done to prevent accidental contact with bears.
Mr. Deck also said Jumbo is a symbol that is easy for people to identify with for the wrong reasons.
After decades of contention, (Jumbo)s achieved a symbolic identity thats quite a bit different from the substantive one, Mr. Deck said. Its a very photogenic place, and for people who have never been there, its relatively easy to characterize this as something beautiful and fragile thats about to be ruined.
This is exactly the concern those supporting the petition have, said Ms. Ward.
People from all over the globe have signed this petition, she said. I hope this sends the message loud and clear to the people in a position to stop this destruction.