Jumbo ski resort appeals decision citing friendship between minister and project critic

Backers of a proposed ski resort say the decision by British Columbia's environment minister to stymie the project was inappropriately affected by her friendship with one of the project's most prominent critics.

Writ claims province dragged heels on two-decade-plus process

Jumbo Glacier Resort is suing the provincial government for not renewing its environmental assessment certificate.

Backers of a proposed ski resort claim the decision by British Columbia's environment minister to stymie the project was inappropriately affected by her friendship with one of the project's most prominent critics.

Jumbo Glacier Resort has filed documents in B.C. Supreme Court referencing Environment Minister Mary Polak's alleged personal relationship with Ktunaxa Nation chair Kathryn Teneese, a long-time opponent of the project.

The documents claim this impacted her decision not to renew a lapsed environmental assessment certificate for the controversial  proponent.

The billion-dollar resort proposed for southeastern B.C. has been decade in the making and sparked fierce opposition from locals, First Nations and environmental groups.

Polak decided in June not to renew Jumbo's certificate because she found the project hadn't been substantially started within five years of the environmental approval being granted, as is required by law.

But Jumbo's submission appealing the minister's decision blames the government for delays in construction, saying the province dragged its feet in granting a development agreement.

The documents filed in court represent only the company's position.

However, a spokesman for the Environment Ministry declined comment, saying it would be inappropriate to do so while the matter is before the courts.

The year-round ski resort project would be located about 55 kilometres west of Invermere and is designed to span just over one square kilometre and boast a hotel with 6,250 beds.

with files from Bob Keating

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