Could this be an election issue?
Maybe not on the provincial scene as Premier Christy Clark, NPD Leader John Horgan and Andrew Weaver of the Green Party jockey for position on the provincial stage during the run up to the next BC election.
However, the Nelson-Creston MLA was not about to let the Jumbo issue slide past the Liberals Wednesday in the BC Legislature as Michelle Mungall presented a petition signed by 61,526 people from the Kootenays and around the world who want to keep Jumbo wild.
“Madame Speaker high up in the mountains is a slab of cement under hundreds of feet of snow in an avalanche path,” Mungall told the Legislature.
“As seen on a popular documentary on Netflix Madame Speaker, this is of course the start of the pathetic fake town of Jumbo,” Mungall added.
“A town with a Mayor, a council and a bank account serving no one.”
Created in 2012 as Jumbo municipality by a Local Government Act, the town saw the appointment of a mayor and council in 2013 with $260,000 in funding.
The municipality’s five-year plan relies solely on government funding through to 2018.
Despite the support from the government, Mungall says the town of Jumbo would “never become real.”
“The fake town in the Kootenays . . . and the member for Kootenay East (Bill Bennett) should pay attention to this because the people in his own riding will make sure that that town never becomes real Madame Speaker,” Mungall said.
There are numerous groups lining up to protest against the Jumbo Ski Resort — a $450-million year round ski resort is planned for the high peaks and glaciers of the Jumbo Pass between Argenta and Invermere on 104 hectares at the foot of Jumbo Mountain and Jumbo Glacier in the Purcell Mountains.
The project would include accommodation for 5,000 visitors and 750 beds for staff.
However, the closet municipality, Invermere is opposed to the project.
Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft brought a motion to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to oppose provincial funding for towns without residents.
The motion was unanimously adopted.
The Ktunaxa Nation is also apposed to the project as are a few high-profile sport athletes.
“So seriously, let’s just end this charade,” Mungall said adding the proponents of Jumbo donated more than $6,000 to the Liberal party and, for there funds, received a “fake town.”
“Will the minister responsible close the bank account for the fake town and put that money into real projects in the Kootenays.”
Peter Fassbender Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, ducked the question, instead focusing on what he calls a lack of “vision” by the opposition NDP.
“Madame Speaker I find it interesting that the members opposite has no vision for the province of British Columbia,” Fassbender said.
“Madame Speaker people with vision look to the future, the members opposition live in the past,” Fassbender added.
“(They) have no vision for the future and Madame Speaker this government will always support entrepreneurial spirit that has built this province and will ensure the future for all British Columbians, and that’s what this government stands for and this project is a vision for the future and will come to fruition when it is time Madame Speaker.”