The province’s approval of a controversial all-season ski resort in the Jumbo Valley is receiving mixed reviews locally.
Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy said the announcement, after more than 20 years of review, is a devastating blow to the region.
“People in Kootenay West have written and emailed me to say they strongly disagree with building a resort in the Jumbo Valley,” she said in a news release. “It doesn’t make sense environmentally or economically.”
The Ktunaxa, who consider the Jumbo Valley to be sacred, have been very clear that they will not allow this development to proceed, said Conroy. The project on Crown land is expected to be challenged in court.
“This is tremendously disrespectful to make this announcement in Victoria instead of coming and facing the people in the area,” she added.
The Jumbo Glacier ski resort, estimated to cost up to $900 million over at least 20 years, could be North America’s only year-round glacier-based ski resort.
Located in the Purcell Mountains west of Invermere, the resort is expected to be about one-tenth the size of Whistler fully built.
Mika Hakkola, marketing and communications manager at Red Mountain Resort, said it’s too early to speculate.
“Really at the end of the day it’s just a wait and see as to what is going to happen in terms of the development,” he said.
“Ultimately what’s been approved, has been approved. But in terms of investment and rolling it out, it’s something yet to be seen.”
Hakkola doesn’t see the development as a threat to Red and in fact considers it another reason to tour the province’s winter glory.
“From a skiing stand point, I think it just puts British Columbia more on the map in terms of being a ski destination,” he said.
“Whether we think it will effect us, know one knows that at this point.”