06/18/2015 07:49 EDT | Updated 06/18/2016 05:59 EDT

Controversial Jumbo Glacier resort 'not substantially started' in B.C.

In a move that might spell the end for the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort, B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak has determined the project "has not been substantially started."

"As a result, the environmental assessment certificate has expired and Glacier Resorts Ltd. cannot proceed with developing this project unless a new certificate is obtained," said a press release from the ministry.

The development is a significant step backwards for the privately-developed year-round ski resort, essentially sending it back to the pre-planning phase.

The press release goes on to state, "...the minister determined that the physical activities undertaken on the various components did not meet the threshold of a substantially started project."

The Jumbo Valley is situated in the Purcell Mountains 55 kilometres west of Invermere in B.C.'s East Kootenay region.

Glacier Resorts Ltd had proposed building a 6,300-bed resort village with more than 20 ski lifts, but the plan was controversial from the start.

Many locals opposed the development plan due to the fact that existing ski hills in the area were already struggling.

Environmentalists also expressed strong resistance saying the resort would ruin important grizzly bear habitat. 

In 2012, the B.C. government controversially amended the Local Government Act to allow Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort to become a municipality without residents.

The new municipality then received a provincial grant of $260,000 and $50,000 in federal gas tax money.