British Columbia

Supreme Court hears B.C. First Nation religious claim against Jumbo Glacier ski resort

The Ktunaxa Nation is asking that the Jumbo Glacier resort planned near Invermere be scrapped for good because it would destroy spiritually significant land and violates their spiritual beliefs.

Ktunaxa Nation claims Jumbo Glacier resort development near Invermere would destroy sacred sites

The proposed Jumbo Glacier resort is the subject of a religious rights claim put forward by the Ktunaxa Nation. (Farnham Glacier Adventures)

A contentious ski resort development in the Kootenays is before the Supreme Court of Canada today.

The Ktunaxa Nation is asking that the planned Jumbo Glacier resort near Invermere be scrapped for good because it lies at the heart of the "grizzly bear's spirit home", and would say desecrates their relationship with the Grizzly spirit.

Skiers on the Jumbo Glacier.

The case has attracted interest because of the precedent it could set for First Nations to claim potential loss of spiritual or religious rights due to development.

The Ktunaxa Nation sued after Glacier Resorts, the company behind the development, was given the go-ahead from the provincial government in 2012 for construction in the Upper Jumbo Valley in the Purcell Mountains, 55 kilometres west of Invermere. 

Both the British Columbia Supreme Court and Court of Appeal previously dismissed the claim.

Development of the Jumbo Glacier Resort suffered a serious setback last year when B.C.'s Environment Ministry refused to extend the environmental assessment certificate, essentially preventing any construction from taking place.

With files from Bob Keating