No gondola from Banff to Mount Norquay, feds say

Parks Canada dismisses proposal for gondola, Grizzly Pavilion and boardwalks

Smoke haze from forest fires burning in Alberta and B.C. hangs over Banff National Park, Friday, July 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Parks Canada has rejected a proposed gondola to take skiers and hikers from Banff townsite to the summit at the Mount Norquay ski resort.

The federal agency was considering a proposal by Liricon Capital, which owns Mount Norquay, to redevelop lands both inside the Alberta mountain town and at the ski area in the national park.

Officials with Parks Canada said they carefully reviewed a feasibility study and other materials related to that proposal, which was submitted in May 2018.

“There will not be further consideration of the proposed gondola, nor the proposed Grizzly Pavilion and boardwalks, which would be located on lands outside the Mount Norquay leasehold,” the agency said in a written statement to The Canadian Press.

“These components of the feasibility study do not conform with the agency’s policies on limits to development and ski area management in Banff National Park.”

The proposal by Liricon, which was supported by the Town of Banff, would have potentially closed the only access road to the ski hill and returned that land to Parks Canada. Visitors would then park in new lots at the train station in the townsite and ride the gondola over the Trans-Canada Highway to the resort.

Parks Canada said that would negatively affect public use of the Mount Norquay access road.

Jan Waterous, a partner at Liricon Capital, said the company is disappointed with the comments on the proposal but it will try again.

“We will be resubmitting a different proposal for Parks’ consideration in the near term that addresses their concerns,” she said in an email.

Waterous said the company remains confident that the project, along with some transit proposals, could be beneficial for a wildlife corridor that goes across the Norquay road.

“Luckily, the science is on our side,” said Waterous.

An environmental study done for Liricon and posted online suggested the gondola was not likely to have any negative impacts on grizzly bears, wolves and cougars. It suggested further study was needed on bighorn sheep.

In its statement, Parks Canada said Banff National Park’s management plan and the Parks Canada ski area management guidelines were developed with extensive public input and based on the best-available science and research.

“It is Parks Canada’s position that its policies on limits to development are fundamental to protecting the ecological integrity of Banff National Park and to ensure that this treasured place is preserved now and for future generations.

“Parks Canada is not willing to alter its policies to accommodate this proposal.”

READ MORE: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Liricon also wanted to develop land to allow passenger rail to Banff from Calgary as part of the proposal.

In the statement, Parks Canada said the potential for train service would be subject to a separate review.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta RCMP launches online crime reporting across the province

A goal for the Alberta RCMP is to make sure all crime is reported, no matter how small

Looking back – the enduring legacy of Clark Burlingham

Burlingham was the Town’s first recreation director

Alberta reports 257 new cases of COVID-19

Central zone has 157 active cases

New hospice suite officially opened at Points West Stettler on Aug. 7th

“As soon as you walk into it, it’s comfortable which makes it easier for a guest to settle into right away.”

Charges likely in fatal attack at central Alberta medical clinic: RCMP

A vigil was held Monday night to mourn the victim

Donations pour in for family of doctor killed in Red Deer attack

Man has been charged in connection to death of Red Deer doctor

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Vigil held in Maskwacis for 10-year-old boy

Samson Cree Nation comes together for comfort, console each other

Cuts to environmental monitoring budget In Alberta’s oilsands are viewed as reckless

The 2019-2020 budget saw $58 million dollars being dedicated to environmental monitoring

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Most Read