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Ktunaxa Nation not convinced Province is impartial on Jumbo

Qat’muk, a sacred area for the Ktunaxa Nation, is the proposed location for the Jumbo Glacier Resort. - Photo submitted
Qat’muk, a sacred area for the Ktunaxa Nation, is the proposed location for the Jumbo Glacier Resort.
— image credit: Photo submitted

 

The Ktunaxa Nation Council is deeply concerned that a delegation representing BC is travelling to France to secure investment for a controversial resort that hasn’t been approved. Jumbo Glacier Resort has been widely opposed by the majority of local residents, as well as the Ktunaxa Nation, who consider this area called Qat’muk (GOT-MOOK) in Ktunaxa, to be sacred.

“It has the appearance that government is not impartial in the project review process,” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Chair.

The BC Government has an obligation to make a decision about this resort based upon facts. Is the government providing preferential treatment for this private business? It certainly calls into question the approval process.

Even government’s premise that this will create jobs for families is simply wrong and misinformed. Last November we released an economic report by Dr. Marvin Schaffer which showed that this resort is likely to have zero net economic benefit for the people BC. The report indicated that any job gains at the new resort will likely be offset by losses at other resorts or tourism businesses, particularly as there has been overall decline in the ski tourism market since 2004.

“It will only provide minimum wage jobs,” said Teneese. “The local businesses are already having a hard time filling those.  This project will provide very few jobs for families to survive on.

“The only ones who will benefit are developers, although insolvency of ski resorts is all too common. This is a real estate grab at the expense of the people of BC, at the expense of the environment, and at the expense of Ktunaxa culture and heritage.”

The Ktunaxa Nation have continuously been opposed to development taking place in the Jumbo Valley based upon the cultural significance of this area to Ktunaxa. For Ktunaxa, Qat’muk is the home to the Grizzly Bear Spirit and the core of a culturally pivotal sacred site. It also provides key connectivity habitat for grizzlies and numerous other wildlife species.

Last November was the one year anniversary of the delivery of the Qat’muk Declaration to the BC Legislature. The Qat’muk Declaration outlines the cultural significance of the region to Ktunaxa, and provides principles for appropriate activities and usage.

“There are just too many risks with this proposed resort,” continued Teneese. “Ultimately for Ktunaxa, the desire to protect this culturally significant area is the most critical.

“The Ktunaxa are not opposed to development, and in many cases we have supported development throughout our Territory.  However, development has to be done in a sensible manner in appropriate locations.

“In this case, approval of a resort in Qat’muk would cause serious and irreversible harm to the Ktunaxa way of life, and it would also be an environmental disaster in south eastern British Columbia. The Provincial decision makers now have an opportunity to say no to this resort and prevent this jumbo mistake.”

The Qat’muk Declaration, Shaffer Report and Short Documentary can all be found at www.beforejumbo.com.

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