Open Letter Re “Jumbo Wild” Film

Nick Waggoner, Director
Sweetgrass Productions

Dear Nick:

After a year of working with you on a film on the Jumbo Glacier Resort (JGR) project, on September 9th you wrote to me informing that Patagonia, in conjunction with its support of your film, would run a campaign with a call to action that supports permanent protection for “the place.”

Thank you for spending time with me and for being (partially) honest with me. I should add that disclosing who is funding your project and what will be its main purpose casts a different light on your interview questions. In this light, you have forgotten to ask the key question, and not only to me but also to anyone who is not opposed to the JGR project.

The key question is why we do not believe that making Jumbo valley a park is a good idea. The Commission on Resources and the Environment (CORE) in 1994 decided upon this very question in a major Provincial land use review. It was decided that it was not a good idea then, and is not a good idea now.

It may be offensive to Canadians (and to justice) to see that a movie made by an American and as an advertising project for a foreign company like Patagonia is made to reverse the CORE land use decision (the legal, political, democratic and moral foundation of the two decades of process for the JGR project), when both sides of the story are not given equal weight. Even more so, it was proposed by the project proponent that the drainage of the beautiful Lake of the Hanging Glacier be made a park (this is still proposed), but the proposal was opposed by environmental groups at CORE, based amongst other things, on access to hunting. Does Patagonia know?

The biggest problem in the JGR controversy has been the manipulation of information for anti JGR ends (by a consortium ranging from environmentalists to the oil industry, and I believe this is a great modern story in the JGR project) and a great lack of truth. The fact that this sawmill site would have better use for skiers and the general public with access to the mountains and their glaciers by lifts (ultimately expected to run with clean hydro power), rather than by helicopters, should be made known. Are you proposing to Patagonia the idea that to keep the JGR territory for exclusive use of wealthy heliskiers, and for snowmobilers, is a better use? I do not think so, and money should not be the reason to change a story.

Regarding money, I read that Canfor is closing operations at Canal Flats, with the loss of some 300 jobs. Would it not be good for the valley to have sustainable jobs showing the mountains to the public in a cleaner industry that will continue forever?

Let me know if you want to have a true representation of my point of view in light of the direction of your project. I will make time for you.

It was a pleasure meeting you, and I hope you will make great movies of this project after it opens, as it will offer an experience that is unmatched in North America to the general public.

Kind regards,

Oberto Oberti, Architect AIBC
President, Pheidias Project Management Corp. and Oberti Resort Design