Jumbo Valley landscape. Photo: Steve Ogle

UPDATED: Feds give Ktunaxa Nation $16M to protect contentious Jumbo Glacier Resort site

$16M will create an Indigenous protected area

The federal government will contribute $16 million over four years to the Ktunaxa Nation to create an Indigenous protected and conserved area in the Qat’muk area, which includes the Jumbo Valley, in the Purcell Mountains.

“We were just advised of this, and of course we are excited about it,” said Kathryn Teneese, chair of the Ktunaxa Nation Council, “but we have had no opportunity to finalize the details and our council has not had a chance to discuss this.”

She said she will be able to provide more information toward the middle of September.

An Aug. 26 letter from Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski, states that the project will include mapping, assessment of cultural and biodiversity values, negotiations to buy out conflicting land tenures, and a stewardship plan.

The letter states that the offer of funding is conditional on the successful negotiation of the project details and the signature of a contribution agreement.

“The project contains high elevation ecosystems that support headwaters of ecologically-important watersheds that regulate water flow and provide habitat for close to 300 at risk species, as well as old growth ecosystems,” McKenna wrote.

“It will conserve and protect habitat for wildlife, including five species at risk such as whitebark pine (endangered) and grizzly bear (western population) (special concern). This project will also conserve and protect draft critical habitat for one priority species, the Southern Mountain caribou (threatened).”

“This has been a long time coming,” Stetski said. “I appreciate the years of hard work by the Ktunaxa Nation and many of my constituents to ensure Qat’muk is protected for future generations.”

Shelly Boyd, speaking for the Sinixt Nation at the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington State, said she welcomes the decision.

“We are so pleased with this decision,” she said in an email. “Our peoples’ traditional village at Trout Lake sits in the shadow of this vast wilderness, and our ancestors are buried there. We wholeheartedly support the efforts of the Ktunaxa in the protection of their territory.

“We thank our neighbours from the east for their ongoing work in the preservation of these high lands, and the protection of kiʔláw̓naʔ (grizzly bear). It is essential that in these times of climate change and ecological challenges that we all work together to protect the timxʷ (all things wild and of spirit).”

The Sinixt Nation’s traditional territory extends into a large part of southeastern BC but is unrecognized by the federal government, which declared the group extinct in Canada in the 1950s.

A proposal for a year-round ski resort in the Jumbo Valley has been in various stages of development, court challenges, and controversy for three decades.

In 2015, former provincial environment minister Mary Polak found that the developer, Glacier Resorts Ltd., had not completed enough construction work proceed with the project.

Her decision meant the expiration of an environmental assessment certificate, which the proponent needed to continue developing the resort.

The company took this to court, and last month the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld Polak’s decision that effectively cancelled the resort project.

This story was updated on Sept. 3, 2019, to include the quote from Shelly Boyd.

Related:

Appeal court sides with province over Jumbo ski resort decision

Glacier Resorts appeals B.C. government decision on Jumbo proposal

Just Posted

UPDATED: Man pleads guilty in Baker Street death

Miles Halverson is guilty of manslaughter in the death of Matt Reeder

Rossland chocolatier plans move to cannabis edibles

Council approves zoning change to accomodate processing facility

Seniors Advocate seeking feedback at Trail meeting

Isobel Mckenzie will be at the Trail Legion for two hours on Friday

FortisBC to offer free energy efficiency assessments for small businesses

Fortis BC wants to help 900 storefronts in Kelowna, Penticton and Rossland

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Most Read