The Farnham Creek blockade near Jumbo Glacier is coming down on Wednesday, September 24, and a celebration is planned for Saturday, September 27. Over the course of the eight-week blockade, friendships have been forged and the camping life has been shared by dozens of valley residents who want to see the Jumbo Valley stay wild.
”We have received assurances from the Province that no further road or lift building will occur this season—we can go home now,” said Dave Quinn, a program manager with Wildsight. “It’s been a bit of a haul for people, but the blockade was more of a success than we could have imagined. Not only has it strengthened the resolve of many JumboWild supporters, it has sent a strong message to Victoria, the Regional District and the resort promoters: keep the Jumbo decision local and keep Jumbo wild.”
Christy Madson, a Jumbo Creek Conservation Society spokesperson, added: “Now we know we have overwhelming community support and people will be out to a blockade to keep Jumbo wild whenever it’s required. We’ll be back on the road if there are any more attempts to develop Jumbo this way.”
Together, Wildsight and the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society represent nearly 3,000 people. Quinn and Madson were delighted at how many of these supporters showed their commitment to JumboWild when push came to shove as heavy machinery scraped a road through the Farnham Creek alpine in early August. They also warn that the blockade, while it has served its purpose for now, can be re-formed if need be.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to keep the Purcells wild,” Madson said, “And after this blockade experience, we know we can quickly return to Farnham—or any other valley—if new attempts at unwarranted development occur.”
Quinn added: “The blockade’s goals were simple: to halt all construction activities associated with the proposed Jumbo resort; and to galvanize the opposition to this unsustainable proposal. Well, the machines are gone. And opposition to the resort is stronger than it’s ever been. Land use rezoning of the area, which is necessary before any resort development occurs, has not moved forward. Rezoning is a local decision unless the provincial government invokes an order that would take the decision out of the hands of local residents. We expect the provincial government to hold to its promise for a local decision.”
“Developers can be put on notice that people will be back on the blockade if any attempts at development take place. As well, the government must realize we will hold them to their commitment for a local decision. We expect the Campbell government will keep its word about this.”
“The resort promoter has not met the conditions of its environmental assessment certificate that expires next year. Like the melting glaciers in the Purcells, time is running out for this ill-conceived land grab. I’d say that calls for a celebration!” concluded Quinn.
Madson says the celebration will take place from 4 to 8 pm on Saturday, September 27, 2008 at Windermere Community Hall. It will be a potluck. People are invited to bring an appetizer, main course, salad or dessert. In the spirit of the blockade, be self sufficient and come with your own beverages, plates, cutlery and lawn chair if you want to eat outside.
“People make a difference. We are gratified that there are so many dedicated people involved,” she said. “We recognize the hours people put in, the hardships they endured and the costs they were willing to bear to take their places at the blockade. We also recognize all those who support efforts for a wild Purcells. We invite everyone to Windermere for the celebration on September 27!”
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Wildsight Purcells Program Manager
Jumbo Creek Conservation Society Spokesperson
Wildsight works locally, regionally and globally to protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable communities in Canada’s Columbia and Southern Rocky Mountain region. This area is internationally recognized as a keystone to conservation in western North America. For more information, please visit www.wildsight.ca .