January 12, 2018 5:19 pm
Updated: January 12, 2018 9:26 pm

Parks Canada picks ‘town plaza’ design for new Waterton visitor centre

WATCH: Parks Canada has unveiled the design for its new visitor centre in Waterton Lakes National Park. Tom Roulston reports.


Parks Canada announced Friday it has decided on a design for its new visitor centre in Waterton Lakes after the old one burned down in a wildfire last fall.

The organization, which manages Canada’s national parks and historic sites, said it has chosen a “town plaza” design that will bring the main visitor area, administration building and washrooms together under one roof.

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READ MORE: Waterton wildfire update: blaze grows by 33,000 hectares, visitor centre lost

Parks Canada said it chose the design after holding online consultations and an open house in April to gather feedback from the public.

The design features a central plaza that includes an outdoor theatre, which will act as a meeting space for visitors, the agency said.

The old splash park and playground will be relocated and replaced with a new “nature-based” play area with logs and large rocks.

READ MORE: Daytime visitors up, business slow in Waterton townsite after Kenow wildfire

Parks Canada said it is also working with the Blackfoot First Nation to develop interpretive material for the new visitor centre based on Blackfoot culture and traditions.

The federal government said in November that the new visitor centre would be built on the Waterton Field, a popular greenspace in the area, despite opposition from people living in the community.

WATCH BELOW: Controversy over Waterton’s new visitor centre garners attention from Ottawa

READ MORE: Parks Canada images show wildlife after Waterton wildfire

The old visitor centre was lost in September because of the Kenow Mountain Wilfire.

Construction on the new centre is expected to begin in 2019 with the facility opening to the public in 2021.

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