January 07, 2014 - 5:00 AM
VANCOUVER - A B.C. Supreme Court has heard that the provincial government's approval of the Jumbo ski Resort in southeastern B.C. violates the local native band's religious freedoms.
Peter Grant, the lawyer for the Ktunaxa (tuh-NAH-kah) Nation, told the judicial review hearing that the resort will be built on the band's sacred land, about 55 kilometres west of Invermere.
In opening remarks, Grant told the court that residential schools already suppressed the band's cultural identity, and the court must say no to anything that could further destroy the band's religious traditions.
Grant says the spiritual significance of the area was known to the government, but it hardly mentioned it in the March 2012 decision to approve the $450-million resort.
The Ktunaxa Nation asked in late 2012 for a judicial review of the province's decision, saying the government did not take into account the band's spiritual connection to the land.
Jumbo Glacier Resort, slated to become North America's first year-round ski resort, is expected to attract between 550,000 and 800,000 visitors a year when completed.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014