bc-081103-jumbo-resort

The developers of the Jumbo Glacier Resort want to build a year-round ski operation on the glacial peaks about an hour west of Invermere, B.C. ((Jumbo Glacier Resort))

The majority of people who live in the Kootenays are against the proposed billion-dollar Jumbo Glacier Resort, according to a new poll obtained by CBC News.

The poll was conducted by McAllister Opinion Research for the environmental group Wildsight. It found that 63 per cent of the respondents were against the Jumbo ski resort, while only 19 per cent were for it, and 18 per cent said they were undecided or had no opinion.

McAllister asked 910 residents of the Kootenays in September and October, "Should the ski resort development at Jumbo Creek be allowed to proceed, or should the Jumbo Valley be kept wild?" The results have a margin of error of 3.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Opponents have long argued the project is being forced on people who live in the Kootenays, but the developers have always maintained there is a silent majority that wants the jobs and four-season skiing.

Jumbo spokesperson Grant Costello said people are misinformed about what the project would entail, so he is not surprised by the poll results.

Nearly 2 decades of planning

The plan was first proposed and cautiously endorsed by the New Democrats in the early 1990s. Since then, the developers have spent 17 years seeking approval for the project from successive provincial governments.

Plans to build the first year-round ski resort in Canada on a nest of glaciers and towering peaks in the Purcell Mountains an hour west of Invermere have long been one of the most controversial development issues in the southeastern interior of B.C.

In July 2007 the resort cleared a major hurdle when the master plan was approved by the Liberal government.

The project now needs local zoning approval before it can go head, or the provincial government could designate the area as a resort municipality and grant approval in Victoria.