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Home » Breaking News » Sunshine calls on public in parking battle

April 19, 2017 – The Crag and Canyon. Story by Michele Jarvie. 

Three years after losing a court battle over parking restrictions, Sunshine Village Ski Resort is going back to court — and this time it’s asking the public to get behind its dispute with Parks Canada.

The resort has filed for a judicial review of Parks Canada’s decision to ban parking anywhere on the access road as of November 2017. Sunshine has also launched a web page — — which urges people to email Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to express “discontent at the Parks Canada plan to deny parking on the access road where up to 800 vehicles have parked without incident for more than 40 years on busy days.”

Vehicles parked in the Sunshine Village parking lot and along the side of the ski and snowboard resort’s access road on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (Daniel Katz/ Crag & Canyon/ Postmedia)

For decades, visitors parked on the access road when the 1,500- to 1,700-vehicle lot at the base of the resort was full. But in 2012, Banff National Park superintendent Dave McDonough restricted parking on the upper three kilometres after avalanche work brought down a massive slide that covered the road.

Sunshine challenged the restrictions in Federal Court, but it ruled Parks Canada had the jurisdiction to make the decision and that it was reasonable.

Then, last November, Parks Canada informed Sunshine that parking will be banned anywhere on the road beginning in the fall of 2017, citing avalanche and other safety concerns.

Sunshine has proposed seven parking options along the access road as well as an expansion to the existing lot, which are detailed on the website. Resort officials say all have been rejected by Parks Canada, so they hope public pressure will force the federal agency to collaborate on a long-term solution.

“We have worked for years with respected environmental consultants to propose reasonable parking expansion proposals, all seven of which have been turned down by Parks Canada without valid reason,” said Dave Riley, the resort’s chief operating officer and senior vice-president. “We are shocked that Parks Canada would attempt to take access road parking away from our visitors without first implementing a reasonable alternative.”

Parks Canada officials declined to comment “as the matter is before the courts.”

In the past, Parks Canada had offered Sunshine additional parking at Healy Creek trailhead or Brewster Creek trailhead. Other options include busing skiers from the overflow parking lots at the Lake Minnewanka loop. Sunshine already runs a shuttle bus from Banff each ski season.

If the parking ban goes through and fewer people visit, Sunshine warns it will ultimately cost the public. The price of lift tickets, accommodations and food will be increased to offset the losses.

Sunshine maintains there is no risk to the public or Parks Canada. It has specially trained staff who ensure visitors park in “safe zones” on the road, and they have indemnified Parks Canada in the lease and on its insurance policy. In more than 40 years of parking on the road, Riley said there has never been an injury accident.

“The real story here is that Canadians are having their access taken away, and that is not acceptable with the public.”

Original article sourced here.

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