Ktunaxa set to appeal Jumbo judicial review

Ktunaxa Nation will be appealing a judicial review of the Jumbo Glacier Resort that went in favour of the BC government in April.

  • May. 27, 2015 3:00 p.m.
Kathryn Teneese

Kathryn Teneese

Trevor Crawley

The Ktunaxa Nation will be appealing a judicial review of the Jumbo Glacier Resort that went in favour of the provincial government in April.

On Friday, lawyers will present arguments to in the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver, as the Ktunaxa Nation seeks to overturn a judicial review that determined the B.C. government acted appropriately when it approved a Master Development Plan for Jumbo in 2012.

The review was launched in January 2014  and the ruling came down in favour of the province three months later.

The Ktunaxa Nation Council disagrees with the decision that concluded that building a large ski resort in a sacred area known as Qat’muk would not interfere with Ktunaxa spiritual beliefs and practices.

The Ktunaxa Nation Council says otherwise, according to chair Kathryn Teneese.

“The basis of it is we do not feel that the court and the province correctly assessed the impact of the development on Ktunaxa spirituality,” said Teneese.

“…I’ll give the benefit of the doubt—probably because they didn’t understand what we were bringing forward that it was not given, in our opinion, full consideration in the decision—first of all to move forward in the development, secondly in our application for judicial review.

“Now, we’re hoping that the court now will agree with us and we can proceed with a judicial review of the decision.”

The Ktunaxa have lived in the region for centuries and have a deep spiritual connection to the animal world and, in particular, to the grizzly bear.

Qat’muk, the Ktunaxa descriptor for the Jumbo massif, is considered a special place where the Grizzly Bear Spirit was born, goes to heal itself, and returns to the spirit world.

According to Ktunaxa beliefs, the Grizzly Bear Spirit is an important source of guidance, strength, protection and spirituality.

Representatives of the Ktunaxa Nation will be holding a media event on Friday before going into the hearing along with lawyers from the provincial government and the proponent.

“Basically, it’s just our intent of reminding folks that we’re still involved and the issue hasn’t fallen off our radar and we want to hopefully find resolution and the only way that we have accessible to us at this present time is through the courts,” said Teneese.

“We are going to be bringing forward some arguments that we feel are compelling, but it’s up to the court to make that decision.”

It will likely be a couple months for a decision to come back on the appeal.

Alongside the court appeal process, the Ministry of Environment has to make a decision on the substantially started designation of the project and whether the Environment Assessment Certificate of the proponent is still valid.