Major work needed to create road to Jumbo resort

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To the Editor:

It looks to me like Christy Clark’s so-called Liberals have decided to go against the will of the majority and implement the plans for the Jumbo Glacier Resort with its appointed resort municipality council because they have little chance of forming the next government anyway.

I worked as a surveyor for 20 years and as a planner for 18, thereby gaining experience in the construction of highways and industrial roads. So when I, as a Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) director, drove the road to the base of the Jumbo area with a few other RDEK directors and from there helicoptered to the top of the glacier in order to get a mental picture of the proposed area, I got a good look at the route the access road would have to take.

Most of the way from Panorama to Jumbo is in a valley with steep sides coming down to a small creek. It is a narrow V-shaped valley with no flat land. The construction of a road suitable for access to a major resort will be expensive, requiring major blasting and earth moving that will have a traumatic effect on the creek and whatever life it supports.

Are B.C. taxpayers happy to pay for the construction and maintenance of an expensive and environmentally damaging road to a project that is also jeopardizing wildlife and the environment but has no certain economic benefits? A study prepared for the RDEK, in conjunction with Cranbrook upgrading its airport to international status, revealed there had not been a global increase in the number of skiers for several years. I heard a news report sometime during 2012 that indicated the number is now decreasing.

Given the global economic situation and the obvious determination of various right wing governments in Canada to keep wages down while prices keep rising, it is certain that middle class disposable income will not be enough to go skiing unless the resort is next door. So, unless global warming bankrupts lower-level ski resorts and multitudes of rich Saudis want something more challenging than their 100-foot indoor ski hill, the economics of Jumbo is at least improbable. In this time of multi-crises we need neither an expensive white elephant to absorb our tax money nor an appointed mayor and council being paid to guide it into the red. The free market system doesn’t use taxpayers’ money as venture capital. At least it shouldn’t.

Peter Ross

Lister

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