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Jumbo: Keeping It Wild

This summer I hiked up to Jumbo Pass with my family. This was the first opportunity I’d had to experience first-hand the part of the Central Purcell Mountain Range that Vancouver’s Glacier Resorts Ltd would turn into a massive year-round ski resort. As a keen skier I can see the appeal of skiing up here, but beyond that the idea seems more than a little bonkers. Apparently the plan is to have upwards of 20 lifts and an average of 2700 skiers per day. Oh, and 5500 beds for visitors and 750 beds for staff. All this right in the middle of an area already containing 11 ski resorts and a bunch of heli- and cat-skiing operations.

Qat’muk

Beyond the sketchy economics there are plenty of other reasons to question the wisdom of this venture. Wildsight, a charity based in Kimberley, has been working to block Jumbo Glacier Resort for 24 years. They maintain the excellent Keep It Wild website, which outlines some of the issues: impinging on Ktunaxa First Nation sacred land, economic feasibility, community impact, the land use planning (un)democratic process, and the potential impact to the grizzly bear population.

Grizzlies Not Gondolas

For years, I’ve seen the Jumbo Wild bumper stickers around town and read the news stories, but never stopped to really think about it all until now. I’m eager to learn more too from the upcoming documentary, Jumbo Wild, playing at the Civic Theatre on Tuesday October 13 at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm.

This is the latest film from the award-winning Sweetgrass Productions, the folk behind 2013’s dramatized ski movie, Valhalla.

To Doc Or Not To Doc

I have a bit of an odd relationship with documentaries. I’m seldom in the mood to go see one at the Civic or to rent one from Reo’s Video. I’m more likely to borrow one from the library or see one on television, so perhaps there’s some element of risk aversion going on here, an unwillingness to fork out hard-earned cash for a documentary rather than a narrative film. But whenever I do watch a well-made documentary, I’ll invariably thoroughly enjoy the experience. I have a particularly fond memory of spending an engrossing afternoon watching a double bill in Sydney, Australia in the early 1990’s: the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse followed by Apocalypse Now.

Not In My Back Yard

In this case, I have no qualms about going to see Jumbo Wild at The Civic. It’s about something I’m interested in and want to learn more about. Furthermore, based on the trailer, it’s going to look and sound incredible. And this is about what’s happening in my back yard. It might have seemed back in June when Jumbo Glacier Resort’s Environmental Certificate expired that it was game over. But now Glacier Resorts Ltd are seeking a judicial review of the BC government’s decision, so the saga continues. It’s not over yet, not by a long shot.

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Update: According to a report in the Columbia Valley Pioneer on Sep 28 (available here: http://www.columbiavalleypioneer.com/?p=16173), Glacier Resorts Ltd is revamping their plans in light of their expired Environmental Certificate. They are now proposing just 1,997 bed units, which conveniently puts it just under the 2,000 threshold that triggers a provincial environmental assessment process. The saga continues.

 

Iain Pardoe is an online university instructor who enjoys the movies of Hayao Miyazaki even more than the kids and loves rewatching favourites from his youth with his family when he’s not playing soccer or skiing.