A parking ban proposed by Parks Canada along the access road to Sunshine Village has prompted an e-mail campaign to get the attention of federal politicians.
For years, the resort’s access road has been used as an overflow parking area for guests. In November 2016, Sunshine Village was advised by Parks Canada that parking along the stretch was going to be prohibited starting in the winter of 2017. Since being notified of the change, the resort has attempted to work with Ottawa to come up with a solution.
“We’ve encouraged them to allow us to build a parking lot,” said Sunshine Village chief operating officer Dave Riley. “We’ve actually turned in seven different proposals. They’ve all been turned down.”
Riley said the resort has had an ongoing conversation with Parks Canada for the last four decades in an effort to provide additional parking to Sunshine Village guests.
“We’ve just not been successful, so now we’re turning to the public and the political officials to intervene in this,” Riley said, referring to the launch of a website encouraging guests to e-mail the federal minister of the environment and the prime minister to help bring a resolution to the problem.
“We’re surprised that they would implement this without first creating an alternative for people,” said Riley. “We think it’s just going to create chaos.”
This is not the first time a stretch of road has been restricted for parking at Sunshine. Riley said an upper section of the access road was closed a couple years ago due to avalanche concerns. With this latest restriction, as many as 1500 skiers and snowboarders would need to find alternate parking arrangements when the resort is operating at peak attendance.
“If you think about a busy weekend where people are coming out from Calgary, and 500 cars are just turned away, what’s going to happen? They’re going to go to another resort.”
Riley said nearby resorts like Lake Louise are not prohibited from its guests parking along access roads in the event regular parking is filled up.
“It’s discriminatory toward Sunshine Village,” said Riley. “It’s just horrible for Canadians.”