The Ktunaxa Nation Council (KNC) executive has rejected an offer to meet with Glacier Resorts Ltd. in two “informative sessions” proposed by a Ktunaxa Nation member unhappy with the Council’s long-held views and battle against the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort.
Ktunaxa member Rob Louie, living in Vancouver and from Creston’s Ktunaxa Lower Kootenay Band, announced he would conduct a series of “informative sessions with the Ktunaxa citizens as part of a reconciliation process with Jumbo Glacier Resort.”
Mr. Louie told the Pioneer the KNC does not speak for all its citizens and he would like to gather Ktunaxa citizens together to have an open discussion about Jumbo, a controversial proposed ski resort near Invermere.
“There are enough of us that have been asking questions and have been frustrated from the lack of response from the KNC leadership,” Mr. Louie said. “I know there are some citizens that oppose (Jumbo), some citizens that support, and those that have questions. Let’s answer those questions … let’s have a healthy dialogue.”
The Ktunaxa Nation released a written statement in response.
“The Ktunaxa Nation Council is not engaged in or considering any type of negotiations with Jumbo Glacier Resorts Limited on an Impact Management Benefits Agreement in relation to the building of a ski resort in Qat’muk,” their statement reads. “The Ktunaxa Nation Council, which is governed by an Executive Council comprised of elected leadership from the four Ktunaxa communities in Canada, will never waiver in its steadfast pledge to keep Qat’muk free from permanent development.”
Jesse Nicholas, communications manager, stated they chose to not provide any further comment on the matter. Akisqnuk First Nation Chief Alfred Joseph did not return the Pioneer calls prior to press time.
Mr. Louie said he was not surprised by the leadership’s statement.
“The KNC leadership are circling the wagons. But that’s the leadership speaking, that’s not the entire citizens of this nation speaking.”
Glacier Resorts Limited also released a letter, attached to the same press release from Mr. Louie.
“Glacier believes that exchanging information and experiences in informal informative sessions with the Ktunaxa citizens will be helpful to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion. We will be able to provide answers that the Ktunaxa citizens may have and clear up any misunderstanding or “myths” about the JGR project,” stated the letter, signed by the chairman of the board of directors, Arnold Armstrong.
The first session took place in Vancouver Saturday, March 10th. Mr. Louie said only six Ktunaxa members attended. The next session takes place Saturday, March 24th at the Ktunaxa Nation Council building in Cranbrook. The meeting is for Ktunaxa members only.
Mr. Louie says he intends to compile the comments following the meeting and present them to the KNC leadership.