Letter to Environmental Assessment Office regarding Jumbo Creek Conservation Society propaganda

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Appendix 1-H of Jumbo Glacier Resort Project Report

Text of Letter to Environmental Assessment Office regarding Jumbo Creek Conservation Society propaganda

pheidias project management corporation1660 1188 west georgia street, vancouver, british columbia v6e 4a2 canada www.pheidias.ca t: 604-662-8833 f: 604-662-7958 info@pheidias.ca

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October 14, 2003AB C

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Mr. Martyn Glassman Project Assessment Director Environmental Assessment Office Ministry of Finance & Corporate Relations PO Box 9426 Stn. Prov. Govt 2836 Yates Street Victoria, BC. V8W 9V1 Re: Jumbo Creek Conservation Society Pamphlet

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Dear Mr. Glassman:

Enclosed in the following pages is a copy of a glossy pamphlet circulated by the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society, which we picked up for the first time at the Columbia First Nations offices during the meeting of September 24. We have included some detailed commentary and observations for your consideration. A shorter version for wider public distribution is also being prepared.

The Jumbo Creek Conservation Society is continuing an overt effort of misrepresenting our project. Particularly characteristic of this effort is the simple fact that not a single picture in the pamphlet shows the actual location or valley where the resort is proposed. It is also disconcerting that despite 29 instances of the word Jumbo in the pamphlet, the Jumbo Creek Conservation Societys editorial does not once refer to the project by its proper geographic name: Jumbo Glacier Resort an important distinction. Following thirteen years of public discussion on the project, with volumes of information readily available, this cannot be a simple question of misunderstanding. It can only be read as a not-so-transparent and continued effort to misinform. A review of the litany of incorrect and untrue statements, statistics and images, which are outlined below, demonstrate a clear effort of disseminating misinformation.

Page One Commentary 1. The main picture of the brochure is a picture of the east side of upper Jumbo Valley, showing Mount Karnak and Jumbo Mountain and taken from Jumbo Pass. A picture taken from this vantage point and elevation conceals almost the entire Jumbo Creek valley especially the sawmill site (where the proposed resort will be located) and the extensive logging normally visible in the valley. The purpose of the photograph is to show a beautiful wilderness in the rough proximity of the proposed resort location, without actually showing its true location. Its principal aim is to convince those who have not followed the project that pristine and beautiful wilderness will be destroyed which is a basic untruth. As an aside, the photo from Jumbo Pass does show, however, that the resort will not be visible from the pass and will therefore not provide a visual disturbance to those wishing to use it in future years. The actual resort location, centered near an abandoned sawmill site in the upper Jumbo Creek valley, can be seen in the following pictures:

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Pictures taken from a helicopter roughly a few hundred meters above Jumbo Pass in both summer and winter show a real view of the upper Jumbo Creek valley a reality that the pamphlets pictures hide.

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The proposed resort location is centered on an abandoned sawmill site in the upper Jumbo Creek valley, shown in summer (above) and early winter (below). This actual location is not depicted anywhere in the Jumbo Creek Conservation Societys pamphlet.

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2. The heading The Jumbo Valley Threatened by the Jumbo Resort Development proposal is misleading not only in its content, but also by the fact that the Jumbo Creek valley is never actually depicted in the pamphlet, and in the misuse of the name of the project. The Proponent has taken care to always refer the name Jumbo to the geographic features of the area (i.e. Jumbo Glacier, Jumbo Mountain and Jumbo Creek) not to the resort, which is designed to be a particularly small destination resort. The equivocations about the project size and location have been a constant form of harassment in this project, and following thirteen years of public dialogue, can only be construed as willful misinformation, as opposed to simple misunderstanding. 3. The caption indicating that the Jumbo Valley is located 55 kilometres west of Invermere is incorrect. 55 kilometers is the distance of the sawmill site (not shown anywhere in the pamphlet), which is almost at the top end of the valley. The Jumbo Creek valley actually begins at about 36 kilometers from Invermere. The lower portion of the valley, which is also not shown in the pamphlet, has not only been subject to extensive logging and mining, but also to a major fire, with consequences still visible. The overhead view (below) of the lower Jumbo Creek valley shows the significant areas of new logging quite clearly.

Overhead views of the lower Jumbo Creek valley show the significant areas of new logging quite clearly. According to Ministry of Forests mapping, nearly 50% (about 45,700 ha) of the forest cover in the Jumbo Creek Valley is classified as Newly Logged or Young Forest.

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4. The statement that The Jumbo valley forms a critical wildlife corridor and buffer zone for the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy, the largest roadless area in southern B.C. is speculative and misleading. A mine, operating until 1991, is located at the entrance to the Jumbo Creek valley where it connects to Toby Creek, the main route to and from the Purcell Conservancy in this region. The Jumbo Creek valley has also had some of the most active logging in the region since the 1930s. Its road is one of the most accessed and best kept in the region. At the upper end of the valley, sawdust piles and clumps of abandoned logs and stumps witness the activity of sawmill operations and of the more recent logging. It is misleading to state It is home to the great grizzly, the majestic mountain goat and the elusive wolverine, as if this were a pristine center for wildlife refuge. It is a simple fact that the valley is not pristine wilderness and that it has been used industrially for over 100 years.

The Mineral King Mine tailings at the entrance to the Jumbo Creek Valley. The Ministry of Energy and Mines ordered the removal of barium sulfate from the tailings in the 1990s as it began washing into Toby Creek.

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Debris in and around Jumbo Creek in the upper portions of the Jumbo Creek valley.

5. The statement It is where locals and international visitors alike can still find solitude, wilderness, wildlife and adventure, is yet another falsehood. Solitude is not easily found because of the valleys remarkably easy access. It is rare that one can go to the sawmill site in summer without seeing other vehicles. Private cars, campers, horse trailers, logging trucks, water trucks, and grading machines, are all present in the summer months. In fact, the road up Toby Creek to the Mineral King Mine is kept open even in winter, in order to facilitate heliskiing, which makes use of the mine as a staging area and parking lot. That parking lot, conveniently located at the entrance to the Jumbo Creek valley, is also a starting out point for the significant number of snowmobilers who enjoy riding in the region. The activity is so popular, that the Forest District has had to resort to the fairly dramatic action of prohibiting snowmobiling from the upper portions of the Jumbo Creek valley in order to avoid conflict with heli-skiers. According to Ministry of Forests mapping, nearly 50% (about 45,700 ha) of the forest cover in the Jumbo Creek Valley is classified as Newly Logged or Young Forest. Despite the significant change in the landscape, roads, industrial activity, hunting and recreational activity in the valley,

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black bears, moose, elk and deer are seen in the area. In fact, as is well known, many of these animals are seen even in the town centers of Radium and Banff. The possibility of seeing bears (even reclusive grizzlies) from the ski lifts at Lake Louise, for example, has become a tourist attraction. Bears and deer are seen in the backyards of homes in North and West Vancouver, cities with a combined population approaching 200,000 people. The possibility of coexistence with humans and human activity, as has been seen in the Jumbo Creek valley, Radium and elsewhere is well founded and well documented. Adventure in the project area, for both locals and international visitors, can be experienced, particularly in winter, by means of helicopter or by serious, well-equipped ski touring or mountaineering expeditions. Suffice it to say, that for the vast majority of Canadians, these are not financially viable options. A simple truth is that the overwhelming majority of local residents and visitors alike have never seen the tops of the 3000+ meter glaciers (such as Jumbo, Commander and Farnham) in their own backyard. The vast majority of locals and international travelers are not equipped nor prepared to hike to mountaintops and overnight in mountain camps. A principal consideration is the danger posed by high alpine environments, and it is for this reason that the few adventurers who currently experience this environment chose to do so from the safety of helicopters.

Forest coverage overview for the Jumbo Creek valley; nearly 50% (about 45,700 ha) of the forest cover is classified as Newly Logged or Young Forest. Source: Ministry of Forests

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6. The listed details of the project are false and purposely misleading in order to incite fear: covering an area of 5000 hectares the Jumbo Resort proposal would transform the Jumbo Valley and surrounding backcountry into an exclusive playground for wealthy customers. Jumbo Glacier Resort will cover approximately 110 hectares center