We operate summer under an approved three-way agreement between SV, Parks Canada, and BC Parks. We proposed new uses for summer but those uses were rejected by Parks Canada.
Historically, the resort has operated the hotel, restaurants, retails shops, gondola, Standish Express, bus transportation to the village, and a series of developed and maintained trails for sightseers and hikers that mainly access the Sunshine Meadows area in the Mount Assiniboine provincial park in British Columbia. Parks Canada has expressed concern over the number of people that may use the Sunshine Meadows trails even though Sunshine Village has extensive trail hosts and monitoring programs in place.
Given Parks Canada’s expression of concern, we suggested that if the secondary out-of-base lift (tram or gondola) to upper Goat’s Eye was constructed, and we are allowed to use that lift in the summer, in return we would be willing to discontinue lift access to Sunshine Meadows and close the hotel in the summer. This would redirect the summer use to the new top terminal area at upper Goat’s Eye where it would be contained at that location with just a small interpretive trail (much like at the Jasper Sky Tram or Banff Gondola). This would decrease use in the Sunshine Meadows area. Parks Canada could decide if continuing to run a bus for hikers to access Sunshine Meadows is desirable or not.
Clearly, it would be an environmental gain to follow our summer use plan as opposed to Parks Canada’s summer use plan as it would take people away from where the wildlife travel and put them up into a small area that is poor wildlife habitat. Our proposal is not unlike what was approved in the Lake Louise Site Guidelines. Relocating summer use to a place that is poor wildlife habitat was considered an environmental gain in the Lake Louise approved plan. Our proposed secondary access lift travels up steep slopes and cliffs where wildlife doesn’t travel.
It is important to note that our maintenance crews will continue to use the entire leasehold area and all roads in the summer to get their work done. We will continue utilizing our staff accommodations for housing our employees on a year-round basis.
Our summer use plan is better for the environment and would provide an exceptional visitor experience.