The Ktunaxa Nation Council is pleased the British Columbia government has taken steps resulting in the dissolution of the Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality, by introducing Bill 26 in the provincial legislature.
“The 2013 incorporation of this ‘town with no citizens,’ (with an appointed mayor and council), was an affront to all residents of British Columbia,” read a statement issued by the Ktunaxa Nation Council Friday morning, Oct. 29.
The Ktunaxa Nation Council opposed the Jumbo development for nearly thirty years, as its proposed location was within Qat’muk, an area of vital cultural and spiritual significance.
In 2020, the announcement of the Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in Qat’muk put an end to Jumbo Glacier resort development, but the “municipality” was still extant, until this week, when the Province put forward measures to dissolve it in the form of Bill 26.
“The Ktunaxa Nation Council thanks all those who stood beside us during this this long, protracted fight, and those partners who stand with us going forward,” said Ktunaxa Nation Council Chair Kathryn Teneese. “In some ways the hard work is over, but in other ways, it is just beginning. I am relieved to see that Bill 26 also rescinds the provincial government’s authority to incorporate a mountain resort municipality without residents in the future. This will help to ensure accountability by all governments in the province and the voices of all British Columbians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are heard.”
Located around 35 kilometres west of Invermere, the Jumbo Glacier Resort was initially proposed in 1991 and would have been a four-season ski resort covering four glaciers and including a resort village with 4500 beds.
The JGMRM was created by the provincial government in 2013 to facilitate development of the Jumbo Glacier Resort, as part of the necessary procedure to approve a Master Development Agreement. Prior to this, a municipality could not be created without residents.
It was controversial from its inception and faced widespread opposition, including from the Union of BC Municipalities.
Surrounded by the Purcell Mountains, the Jumbo Valley is not only an important habitat for grizzly bears and the sight of a transboundary wildlife corridor that connects them across western North America, it is also a sacred place for the Ktunaxa Nation, who know it as Qat’muk, the home of the grizzly bear spirit.
“The Ktunaxa have a stewardship obligation and duty to Qat’muk,” the Ktunaxa Nation Council statement read.