British Columbia

With no residents or roads, Jumbo doesn't deserve municipality status, says Rossland's council

Almost three decades after it was first proposed, Jumbo only exists on paper with no residents, infrastructure or planned start date.

Almost three decades after it was first proposed, Jumbo only exists on paper

Jumbo resort municipality was created by the Liberal government of B.C. to help get the Jumbo Glacier four-season resort built west of Invermere. (The Canadian Press)

One town in the Kootenays wants another to cease to exist and they've written the province to get it done.

Jumbo resort municipality was created in 2013 by the Liberal government of B.C. to help get the year-round Jumbo Glacier Resort built west of Invermere.

But almost three decades after it was first proposed, Jumbo only exists on paper with no residents, infrastructure or planned start date.

"On behalf of the City of Rossland's council, I am writing to you to express our support for dissolving the Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality," wrote Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore in a letter to the NDP government.

"They had the court ruling that recently said no significant progress had been made so they had to start over again with their environmental assessment," Moore said.

"So it just seemed to me and our council here in Rossland this is a perfect opportunity to look at this project and see if it makes sense. From our perspective it doesn't." 

Jumbo has an appointed mayor and one councillor who used to hold regular meetings to help facilitate building the resort with the developers.

But in 2015, former environment minister Mary Polak ruled that the developer had not substantially started the project by the time the environmental assessment was set to expire.

The developers appealed that decision, but the B.C. Court of Appeal recently ruled Pollack's ruling should stand.

Moore and the rest of Rossland's council say it's ridiculous that a stalled project high in the bush still has municipality status.

"Municipalities are there to serve their residents and serve their taxpayers, right? There are no residents in this, there is an appointed mayor and council and they get money from the government and, to me, that doesn't make any sense."

Moore wants Environment Minister George Heyman to revoke Jumbo's municipal status.

Jumbo mayor says dissolution isn't necessary

But Greg Deck, the appointed mayor of Jumbo, says that's not necessary. Deck says the developer is deciding whether to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

"It was a two-to-one decision on the most recent B.C. Court of Appeal ruling and my understanding is the proponent is strongly considering asking leave to appear before the Supreme Court of Canada."

Deck says his two-person council is in limbo while the developer decides how to proceed. 

He said they are returning most of the government grant money they receive as a municipality. 

Deck says after almost three decades the province owes it to the developer to let the process play out.  

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