VANCOUVER – Backers of a proposed ski resort say the decision by British Columbia’s environment minister to stymie the project was inappropriately affected by her friendship with one of the project’s most prominent critics.
Jumbo Glacier Resort has filed documents in B.C. Supreme Court highlighting Environment Minister Mary Polak’s personal relationship with Ktunaxa Nation chair Katherine Tenesse, a long-time opponent of the project.
They allege this impacted her decision not to renew a lapsed environmental assessment certificate for the controversial proponent.
The billion-dollar resort proposed for southeastern B.C. has been decades in the making and sparked fierce opposition from locals, First Nations and environmental groups.
Polak decided in June not to renew Jumbo’s certificate because she found the project hadn’t been substantially started within five years of the environmental approval being granted, as is required by law.
But Jumbo’s submission appealing the minister’s decision blames the government for delays in construction, saying the province dragged its feet in granting a development agreement.
A spokesman for the Environment Ministry declined comment, saying it would be inappropriate to do so while the matter is before the courts.
The year-round ski resort project would be located about 55 kilometres west of Invermere and is designed to span just over one square kilometre and boast a hotel with 6,250 beds.