B.C. mountain resort municipality of Jumbo has mayor but no residents

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

British Columbia's newest municipality has more goats and bears than it does people.

In fact, it has no people at all.

The B.C. government took the rare step this week of officially forming a municipality where there is no people and no infrastructure.

It's an admittedly boring little berg right now, but soon it could be the home of the province's newest and therefore coolest ski resort community.

The Vancouver Sun reports that a mayor and two councillors have been appointed for Jumbo, B.C., which sits at the base of Jumbo Mountain and Glacier.

The site was formerly a saw mill and could soon feature a $450-million high-elevation ski resort, likely to create a bustling community like those in Whistler and Sun Peaks.

But before the community must come the council? It seems a little backward to choose representatives for the people before there are people to represent. What gives the B.C. government the right to appoint a council, critics ask, when there is no guarantee a population will exist to reelect them?

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Robyn Duncan, a spokesperson for the environmental group Wildsight, via the Sun:

Having the B.C. government hand-pick a council and create a municipality in the middle of wilderness changes the way democracy is done in British Columbia.

Bill Bennett, B.C.'s Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, told the Calgary Herald that the authority that represents local towns has already given the province approval to establish the new community, even though the closest community of Invermere has officially opposed the development.

Bennett said councils have been previously formed where there was no population, usually to oversee mining and hydroelectric opportunities in remote areas.

This is technically the same concept, except instead of creating an industry for ore and power they are creating an industry for black diamonds and moguls.

Now that Jumbo has a municipal council it still has to address other, more common, complaints that plague massive development projects in the pristine wilderness — environmental conservation concerns.

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All those goats and bears will be displaced by a resort community, environmentalists declare.

Perhaps the answer is giving them a representative on this new town council. It wouldn't be the first time an animal ran for office.