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Jumbo Glacier Resort faces construction funding uncertainty

03/13/2015 02:10 EDT | Updated 05/13/2015 05:59 EDT
Construction has begun on the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort, but it's not clear whether there is enough money to finish the project. 

When Daybreak South host Chris Walker asked proponent Grant Costello, "Do you have the money to build it?" Costello answered, "Just wait and see."

"The money will be there when it's time to build, as it was this summer. Our critics don't have to worry, because if the money isn't there, the project won't get built."

Costello is well aware of his critics. He was speaking to Walker at a broadcast held in Invermere before a live audience and was booed as he took his place at the mic.

The staunch opponents — environmentalists and some First Nations — have been fighting the project since it was first proposed more than two decades ago.

A lawsuit is set to go before the courts in May challenging the B.C. government's creation of the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality in 2012, on the grounds that the area doesn't have any residents.

Another lawsuit was launched by the Ktunaxa Nation, arguing it hadn't been properly consulted on the project, which it said would profoundly transform their traditional territory.

The Ktunaxa lost its suit in B.C. Supreme Court, but are appealing the decision.

The owners are now in the process of renewing the environmental certificate — which needs to be done every five years — but even that hasn't been a straight forward process.

The province is looking into whether some of the buildings are being built in an avalanche zone, delaying the renewal.

To get the certificate renewed the company also has to have "substantial construction" completed.

So far, work has begun on a bridge, a service building, the first lift, as well as the floor of the main lodge.

Costello said despite all the delays, he's in it for the long haul.

"We're used to waiting and we're just going to wait and see what the outcome is," he said.

"We can wait as long as [the B.C. government] can wait. The decision will be made within months."

Despite Costello's resolve to see the project built, it continues to face strong local opposition. Chants of "No Jumbo. No Jumbo" could be heard in the audience as the live interview wrapped up.

To hear the full interview with Grant Costello, click the audio labelled: Grant Costello on Jumbo Glacier Resort.

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