The grizzly bear spirit still rules Jumbo

Jumbo was a municipality without people, without buildings, without infrastructure

Editor, The Times:

Re: BC VIEWS: The limits of Indigenous rights

It would be hard to deny that Tom Fletcher demonstrates a very high level of skill in his guest editorial about the issues surrounding the Jumbo Glacier ski area development proposal and the judgement of the Supreme Court regarding the claims of native spirituality related to it.

However, Fletcher makes every possible effort to use the judgement to taint everyone who opposed the Jumbo development.

READ MORE: Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

READ MORE: Year-round B.C. ski resort gets green light

In the editorial, the reader is led to believe that, somehow, those who wanted to maintain the wild nature of the Jumbo area are, somehow, lacking in legitimacy.

We have a Canadian hockey player who just happens to live in California. We have a U.S. environmental group that gets involved. We have a divided front of First Nations people whose spiritual beliefs deserve to be placed into question. After all, those were the basis of the court case which ruled against them. And, last but not least, we have the NDP, which seems opposed to development in any way, shape or form.

Fletcher’s vocabulary stoops a bit when he states that MLA Michelle Mungall “mocks” the resort municipality idea which, he says, has proved so successful elsewhere.

Mind you, if Fletcher had revealed the facts about the Jumbo municipality, Ms. Mungall would had plenty of good company.

You see, Jumbo was a municipality without people, without buildings, without infrastructure, and with a non-resident mayor and two councillors, and yet it was the recipient of $200,000 per annum in provincial grants. If someone really wanted to mock this example of a fictitious municipality, I think they would be on fairly safe ground, don’t you, Mr. Editor?”

Yes, Fletcher’s rabid was a masterpiece of pro-development propaganda but he conveniently omitted in a number of the most interesting facts, probably because they might have disturbed his little construct.

The big news is that Jumbo is dead and that it died June 18, 2015. You see the developer had to act in haste in order to sneak in under the date to which his permit was limited.

After putting in a number of foundations, he called in the avalanche consultants, expecting them to rubber stamp his efforts. Lo and behold, he had built some of those foundations smack in an avalanche path. This wasn’t the preferred descent route of just any avalanche but of Himalayan-sized Class 4 avalanches. That fatal error put the project into question and the permits were pulled. Isn’t it strange that Fletcher failed to mention this?

It was Jumbo Wild, a spin-off of Wild Sight BC that led the campaign to keep Jumbo wild. The Wilderness Committee jumped in too. Opposition to the ski area wasn’t orchestrated by Americans. You see, some people appreciate, more than others, the unique heritage that Nature has bestowed upon this province.

Having stood on the top of Glacier Dome, a minor peak that looks down to where the Jumbo Glacier delivers icebergs that calve into the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers, I believe that it would be hard to want anything but a continued state of wild for Jumbo.

In a strange way, perhaps the “grizzly bear spirit” featured in the court case decided that he didn’t really need lawyers and judges. He was able to do the job all by himself. Mess with the Grizzly at your peril.

David Simms

Clearwater, B.C.

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