Rob: When Mt. Norquays initial proposal for a gondola from the new parking area (in Banff) to the top was rejected by Parks Canada, I don’t think anyone really thought that they would just sort of pack their bags and say “we’re done with that”. No, there’s another proposal in the works. They’re trying to amend it to meet with some of Parks Canada’s concerns about the project.

Tanya: Liricon is in discussions with Parks Canada right now about an amended proposal in a draft form. They’re testing the waters around some of the change concepts before they submit them formally.

Rob: Some of the things that Parks Canada took issue with might be insurmountable challenges.When it comes to building a gondola, the majority of it would be located on Parks Canada lands.

Tanya: The UNESCO World Heritage Site  – protecting natural viewscapes is a criteria for having that designation. A gondola, even to just the base of Mt. Norquay, which looks like that’s going to be what Liricon is proposing, would affect that natural viewscape.

Rob: You’re saying that a gondola that could affect Banff National Park status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? That’s one of the concerns? That’s a huge hurdle!

Tanya: Some other hurdles might be even more insurmountable. Some of these proposals are not included in the ski area guidelines or long range plans. There’s limits on commercial development in the town of Banff, which the base of the gondola will be located in. This proposal is tied into a lot of other things, including a shift from a winter use as a ski hill to being year-round.

Rob: It sounds like there’s some issues at the base of the proposed gondola. There’d be some big issues on the route the gondola would take and there’d be multiple issues at the top. That’s a lot of things that they would have to go through one by one to try to overcome to even begin construction on a proposal like this. I don’t even know how this could happen, to be honest with you.

Tanya: We might be looking at an amendment to their long range plan or a new long range planning process because some of these are significant changes. Another issue is that if Parks Canada were to approve things that are outside of a ski hill’s lease area or not included in their long range plan or site guidelines, would that set a precedent for other ski hills as well?

Filed under: Banff, Mountain Insider, Norquay, Parks Canada