April 23, 2019 9:32 pm
Updated: April 23, 2019 9:36 pm

Lake Louise releases plan on potential changes, gives back 1,000 hectares of undeveloped land

WATCH: Lake Louise Ski Resort is proposing some big changes and it's sharing them with the public. It follows years of negotiating with Parks Canada and involves giving up 1,000 hectares of land. Lisa MacGregor reports on the plan and on how you can have your say.


After years of negotiating with Parks Canada, Lake Louise Ski Resort is proposing some big changes and it’s sharing them with the public.

It involves giving 1,000 hectares of land back to Parks Canada in exchange for being able to upgrade Lake Louise’s current space on the mountain.

The Long-Range Plan (LRP), which is supported by Parks Canada, would involve building a new mountaintop lodge and another day lodge next to the original Whiskey Jack Lodge.

The resort also proposed a new childcare building and an expansion of Temple Lodge.

Dan Markham, communications director at Lake Louise, said the listed changes in the LRP would be done within the resort’s existing footprint and it will return some undeveloped land to Parks Canada.

“Lake Louise’s leasehold is going to reduce by almost 50 per cent. We’re giving back about, 1,000 hectares of [undeveloped] land that was part of our leasehold,” Markham said.

“We’re giving that back to Parks Canada for protection from now until the end of time in exchange for being able to do upgrades and developments.”

Lake Louise is also looking into building a reservoir to store water for snowmaking in an effort to reduce pressure on the nearby Pipestone River. It’s also proposing new lifts to access more beginner and intermediate terrain as well as closing summer operations for its mid-mountain lodge.

“That will allow us to then move completely out of the grizzly bear corridor in the summertime, so Whitehorn [lodge] would only be available or open in the winter,” Markham said.

The next step now is a 60-day public consultation on the LRP, starting with several open houses this week.

Twenty years ago, American Lou Rosenfeld got hooked on skiing in Lake Louise, so he never left Alberta.

Global News

Twenty years ago, American Lou Rosenfeld got hooked on skiing Lake Louise, so he never left Alberta. Even in the summer, the ski expert finds beauty on the hill.

“I’m a seasons pass holder so I took the gondola up, and I can spend lots of times in the park and not see much wildlife, but there in the middle of a run, feasting on the berries, there was a momma grizzly and her cub,” Rosenfeld said.

READ MORE: Climate change will disrupt food, hibernation schedule for Rocky Mountain grizzlies: U of C study

Rosenfeld, the owner of Lou’s Performance Centre, likes what he sees with the new LRP.

“The ski area gets to give me more skiing and more terrain and more variety. At the same time, the ski area gets smaller, so there’s less impact on the park. To me, I think it’s a great situation,” Rosenfeld said.

In a statement to Global News, Parks Canada said: “At the conclusion of the consultations, Parks Canada will provide direction to the Lake Louise Ski Area for any necessary changes or additions to the Detailed Impact Assessment (DIA) or Long-Range Plan based on public input… It is important to note that no decisions on any elements in the LRP or DIA have been made at this time.”

The environment minister will have final approval. Lake Louise hopes to have shovels in the ground by next year.

The first open house for Albertans to have their say is on Tuesday night at Lake Louise Inn. Other open houses are later in the week.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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