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Rally for a wild place

May 07, 2012

May 7, 2012 - [video] Locals, ski guides, and Olympic gold medalists rallied in Invermere, BC, for grizzly bears and against a proposed Jumbo glacier resort.

Rally for a wild place

Hockey Olympic gold medalist Scott Niedermayer said "yes" to wild habitat and "no" to building a jumbo resort in the heart of grizzly bear country.

Supporters of keeping the Jumbo Valley wild are more determined than ever, thanks to a recent BC government green flag for a mega-resort in the heart of the Purcell Mountains. Residents, backcountry ski guides, and Olympic gold medalists rallied in Invermere, BC, for grizzly bears and against a proposed Jumbo Glacier resort.

Watch the excellent video to hear what people have to say.
Quotes from the video:

“We have many, many people here who would like to voice their opinion about Jumbo. And that’s why we’re here tonight, because there has never been a public hearing about Jumbo. That has to be the most maddening thing that I can imagine," said Bob Campsall from Jumbo Creek Conservation Society. "We who live in the valley have never had a chance to speak our minds at a public hearing.”

Doug Anakin, Olympic Athlete and Gold Medalist, was present to represent the many Canadian athletes who are against the resort, including Scott Niedermayer, Thomas Grandi, and Kristina Groves.

“We are Canadian Olympic and Paralympic medalists who love winter sports and depend on it for our livelihoods, but we recognize there are limits to development, where enough is enough, and bigger values and the future of our children’s heritage is at stake. That’s why we are opposed to the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort," Anakin said.

"A remote resort on melting glaciers will not strengthen British Columbian communities," said Anakin. "Cutting the ski tourism pie even thinner to compete with the region's world class destinations will only drain community-based livelihoods."

"No one's opposed to skiing," said local wildlife biologist, Dave Quinn. "No one's opposed to development that’s smart, that makes sense for our communities."

"But it does not make any sense at a time of melting glaciers and awareness of climate change to punch a road 55 kilometers to the back of the heart of the Purcell Mountains and develop a real estate development there,” said Quinn.

The accessibility of the ski resort is also a factor worth considering. Located atop four glaciers in the Central Purcell Mountains, the site is a four-hour drive from Calgary, the nearest city with an international airport, and an eight to ten hour drive from Seattle or Vancouver, BC.

There is currently no road to the resort site, and the estimated cost of construction could be as much as C$200 million.

According to Rod Gibbons, a guide for RK Heliski, investors realize that developing a resort in the area will involve more issues than just accessibility. Gibbons believes the potential investors, who visited Invermere recently, are "quite savvy and quite intelligent and came here to get many sides of the story." He quoted one French investor as saying, after hearing that 75 to 85% of locals are against the development, "With that kind of opposition it might be very hard to build this resort."

For now, those living near Jumbo Mountain and the proposed ski resort know that this issue is just beginning - again. They vow to fight on.

“We all know this is not over," said Robyn Duncan, Purcell Mountains program manager and Southern Rockies program coordinator for Wildsight. "We have so many fun steps ahead. So here’s to the next couple years of saying no to this forever.”

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