If the story makes it out of the Revelstoke news bubble to the provincial, national or international stage, there’s a pretty good chance it’s got something to do with avalanches.
The saga of the Jumbo Glacier Resort planned for the East Kootenay mountains west of Invermere took a significant turn on Friday. A Revelstoke avalanche consultant’s report made publicly available on April 24 determined the day lodge and associated buildings under construction there are within an avalanche runoff zone, albeit near the edge of a zone affected infrequently. Nevertheless, the risk is unacceptable under provincial building rules.
The report caused the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to order a halt to construction of the project in an April 24 letter, which puts the project at risk because developers Glacier Resorts Limited was under a construction deadline as a condition of their development permit.
The EAO letter does suggest ways the construction could resume, including a revised usage plan, physical work on the buildings to reinforce them, an evacuation plan, and an avalanche control plan to deal with the slide risk overhead.
In the meantime, developers await a determination from the B.C. environment minister on whether or not the project, which is still in the very early construction phase, has to date achieved “significant completion,” a condition of their time-limited environmental permit.
The Jumbo Glacier Resort concept needs little introduction in Southeastern B.C.; the controversial resort development has pitted proponents and opponents against each other for 20 years. The former say it will bring jobs, investment, and opportunity; the latter say it’s a folly that will negatively impact the environment in the area.
Will this be a definitive chapter in the story of Jumbo Glacier Resort? Don’t count anything out — the project has drawn in huge political intervention over the years.