A couple of big announcements in the local news this week.
First, the proposed Jumbo Resort is dead. It has been on the books for over thirty years, at times pulling the community apart, setting business people against each other.
It was a harebrained scheme from the get go. With bullshit from both sides of millionaires being flung, liberally, at each other.
I think most regular folks got out of the way along time ago, leaving the fighting to the elitists in Wildsight and Patagonia, and the villainous, Jumbo Glacier Resort and dumbfounded Jumbo Municipality.
However, something good may have come out of it. The area will now be a designated protected area to be overseen by the Ktunaxa First Nation.
Time will tell how this will play out.
The only way this issue was going to resolve itself was by money. Reason, common sense, goodwill, or even a deep desire for preservation or development was not enough.
It took the government paying off both sides. The anti Jumbo folks secured over $16 million and Jumbo Glacier Resort was paid an undisclosed amount for the tenure to the publicly owned property.
The second announcement was The District of Invermere down zoning the Octagon Property behind the Invermere Arena.
Part of the property was where I grew up. It overlooks Lake Windermere. At one time the property was worth next to nothing, because it was on a sidehill and had a train running by almost constantly.
Later the coal trains started running less frequent, with the Albertans buying up most of the other available lake front, the property became more valuable.
After my parents passed away our family quickly sold the land to a couple of wheelers who sat on it for a year and sold it to Octagon for a couple hundred thousand profit.
After Octagon bought it they left it derelict, while lobbying mayor and council for rezoning to build a nine story hotel.
It was during this period that my parents house became a crack den. Police were called regularly. Octagon refused to board the place up. My parents would have rolled over if they would have seen what became of their house.
One of the hardest things I never did was burning the place down. I would have got everyone out. That wouldn’t have been a problem. I worried about a volunteer firefighter getting hurt.
Instead, I pestered the brass at Octagon, a bunch of snakes, into tearing it down, which they finally did.
Meanwhile the District of Invermere, against the will of most citizens, caved to the wishes of Octagon and granted their rezoning demands.
Last week, the District down zoned the property so the owner, creditor of the previous owner, can sell it off by the piece. In the end, regardless of their grand plans, that’s the only way they can make their money back.
There won’t be a nine story hotel beside the tracks, beside the lake. Jumbo will remain undeveloped. I should be happy, but it takes a bunch of nasty business to come to the right decision. This time money was on the side of preservation, next time. . . who knows.