A new government order that exempts prospective year-round ski resorts in B.C. from the Environmental Assessment process will not apply to existing projects such as the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort  or Garibaldi proposals, the Environment Ministry has confirmed.

Government officials confirmed on Wednesday that "the provincial government will continue to enforce the certificates and any changes to existing certificates will still need an amendment under the Environmental Assessment Act."

Concerns were raised about the status of the projects on Tuesday by environmentalists and the B.C. NDP, who questioned the motives behind the government bill, which was signed Monday night

NDP environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert raised the concerns, noting Jumbo Glacier Resort's current EA certificate expires in October. The resort's current certificate, issued in 2004, contains almost 200 conditions that have to be completed before construction can begin.

But Environment Minister Mary Polak says the move will not affect either the Jumbo or Garibaldi projects.

"Any project that was deemed to be a reviewable project before the amendment came into effect is still a reviewable project," said Polak in a statement issued by the ministry.

"In the case of the Jumbo Glacier Resort, because there is a previous order stating that the project must obtain an environmental assessment certificate, it cannot be legally built without one."

Polak said the decision was made in order to eliminate duplication created by a process operated by the Ministry of Forests and Lands that is similar to the Environmental Assessment process.

Corrections

  • This story has been corrected to indicate the new order does not exempt the Jumbo Glacier Resort and the Garibaldi proposals from existing environmental review requirements.
    Apr 16, 2014 12:50 PM PT
With files from CBC's Bob Keating