In the case of all the other mountain park ski areas (Marmot Basin, Lake Louise, and Norquay), a “concurrence letter” from the ski area operator was attached to the site guidelines. This came about through collaboration and communication between Parks Canada and the resort operator. After all, this is a long-term partnership to provide a world-class resort. The two parties should be agreeing to the site guidelines. In this public/private partnership, Parks Canada provides the land and regulatory oversight and Sunshine Village Corp. provides all the capital and operational expertise.
Park Canada does not appear to be seeking concurrency from Sunshine Village in this process. That appears unfair particularly because the 2006 Parks Canada Ski Area Management Guidelines (which describes the site guidelines process) calls for a collaborative process between Parks Canada and the ski area lessee.
We would be happy to provide a concurrence letter if the gaps and problems in the Site Guidelines are resolved in a reasonable way. For example, Parks Canada has yet to explain to us why they think their parking plan will work in the long-run or why their planned location for the secondary lift out of the base area is a better option from an environmental point-of-view.
We believe Parks Canada should re-engage with us to negotiate in good-faith on site guidelines so that the gaps can be reasonably addressed and the lessee can support the final document.
Sunshine Village occupies less than 1% of the national park, yet hosts many of its visitors. These areas provide a place where the public can go and enjoy their public lands. The ski areas also draw people away from the wilderness areas by providing a great experience within the leasehold during both the winter and the summer. The ski areas have been developed for this purpose. This is a good thing for the long-term sustainability and ecological integrity of the entire national park.