The Regional District of East Kootenay may consider taking back land-use authority for Jumbo Glacier Resort from the province at its June 8 board meeting.
Gerry Wilkie, Director of Area G, where part of the proposed $450 million all-season resort would lie, plans to bring forward a motion to the board to reconsider its August 2009 decision that moves Jumbo planning decisions to the province.
"I'm asking for consultation not only with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), but First Nations and the adjacent municipalities," said Wilkie in an interview with the Townsman.
The province signed a Master Development Agreement with the proponents of Jumbo Glacier Resort in March, giving it the green light to go ahead after 22 years.
On May 9, the B.C. legislature passed amendments to the Local Government Act that would allow the province to create a mountain resort municipality for Jumbo and appoint a mayor and council before there were any permanent residents.
It was that decision that spurred Wilkie to bring the decision back to the board table for debate.
"(The province) can create a resort municipality where there are no residents and appoint a mayor and council. That to me demonstrates a real concern about public accountability," he said, calling the legislation "a recipe for chaos".
Wilkie hopes his fellow board members will see the logic in changing its position on Jumbo land-use decisions in favour of more local consultation.
In August 2009, the RDEK board of directors voted 8-7 to advise the provincial government that it prefers Jumbo Glacier Resort be appointed a mountain resort municipality.
The decision means that the regional district would currently not be responsible for creating an official community plan, nor carrying out rezoning and considering subdivision applications - and all of the public consultation that goes along with those processes.
Back then, the majority of the board felt the responsibility would be too onus for regional district staff and take up too much time that could be spent on other regional projects.
But since 2009, local government elections have brought six new faces to the board table, so a vote that was very close then may swing the other way now, Wilkie said.
"I'm hoping so, especially with what has recently happened with concern over the democratic process."
It remains to be seen whether an RDEK vote either way would influence the province's actions, since it already has the power to create a mountain resort municipality for the proposed development.
Wilkie hopes the province listens to the position of local government on the issue.
"If the province is interested in public accountability, then they should be consulting with the people of the East Kootenay."