In November 2014, the Environmental Assessment Office received a complaint alleging the new Day Lodge at Jumbo Glacier Resort was in the middle of an avalanche hazard zone. Subsequent studies conducted by Alan Jones, M.Sc. P.Eng. at Dynamic Avalanche Consulting in Revelstoke, found the Day Lodge to be 180 metres and 90 degrees away from the middle of the avalanche path.
Peter Schaerer of Chris Stetham and Associates, one of Canadas leading avalanche scientists, mapped the hazard zones during the nine year Environmental Assessment review and the buildings as built are not in a hazard zone according to those studies.
Mr. Schaerer confirmed his earlier findings in 2014 in a letter which states in part; Conclusions: 4. Avalanche control by explosives must be applied at the Wolverine/Pink Panther avalanche path near the Day Lodge and be supported by trained personnel and a snow safety plan.
Nonetheless, Compliance and Enforcement at the Environmental Assessment Office requested more detailed mapping than required by any other similar project and Mr. Jones prepared a new study.
In his review, Mr. Jones referred to Guidelines for Snow Avalanche Risk Determination and Mapping in Canada CAA, 2002. Principal authors of this Guideline are Peter Schaerer and Chris Stetham.
At the end of his 43-page Dynamic report, Jones states in part; 8.0 Conclusion and Recommendations: 4) Protection of workers and the public in and around the Day Lodge will require implementation of an avalanche safety plan, which will include explosive avalanche control and an evacuation plan implemented by trained, experienced and licensed avalanche technicians.
As evidenced above from the almost identical conclusions from Schaerer and Jones, they are unequivocal in their professional opinions that the Day Lodge site can be made safe from any avalanche danger with the controls that are ordinarily put into place around the world to ensure public safety. These are not unusual requirements and they are found in operations across Western Canada and the U.S. at high elevation alpine resorts that receive massive amounts of snow and have extensive avalanche terrain (ski runs) like Jumbo Glacier Resort.
As critics intensify their efforts to halt this unique project as it progresses towards the recognition of Substantial Start, we remain determined to complete what we have begun.
According to Oberto Oberti, the project will not be stopped by games of words; we trust that the Canadian justice system would not permit it, and we expect that the legal route will not be necessary.
Once more, the rules have been changed for this project and a small amendment to a clause in the Environmental Certificate will clear the way for the removal of any impediment to the construction of these first buildings at Jumbo Glacier Resort.
Grant Costello, Senior Vice-President
Glacier Resorts Ltd.