Deep in British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains, a controversy has brewed for more than 20 years.
The Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal to build a 6,000-hectare European resort replica — complete with 23 ski lifts and 6,000 bed units — first surfaced in 1991.
While proponents argue the proposal would make the Invermere area home to Canada's first year-round, glacier-based ski resort, those opposed to the project say it would desecrate a sacred place for the Ktunaxa Nation, imperil grizzly bear habitat and overload a region that already has 13 ski resorts within a three-hour drive.
Time is running out for the proponents — in more ways than one. Climate experts predict the glaciers will be entirely melted within four decades. And in the more immediate future, if substantial construction doesn’t begin by Oct. 12th, 2014, the environmental assessment certificate for the project will expire, meaning proponents have to go back to square one.
At this crucial moment in the project’s history, DeSmog Canada sent award-winning reporter Judith Lavoie series to the Columbia Valley to take a closer look at the issues swirling around the Jumbo Glacier Resort.
Photo credit: Pat Morrow.
The original reporting in this series was made possible through the generous support of Wilburforce Foundation.