A proposal for a 66-room luxury resort on the bank of Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park has been rejected by the federal government. Maligne Tours submitted 14 ideas to update and expand tourism services at the iconic mountain lake. The proposed new hotel was the only one that was rejected. The other 13 which include additional boat tours of the lake “Maligne-thematic” food and retail services and tent cabins will advance for further consideration by Parks Canada.
“Parks Canada’s decision reflects consideration of the extensive input from Aboriginal communities and the public…. It is now up to Maligne Tours to submit more detailed design-level proposals for each of these elements for further consideration if they decide they would like to proceed with any or all of them” Jasper National Park spokesperson Alisson Ogle explains.
The intended hotel was contentious from the proposal’s inception in 2013 with public and Aboriginal consultations resulting in resounding opposition. The Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) says its main problem with the hotel was that it would “have been situated in the middle of important habitat for several threatened wild species including grizzly bears harlequin ducks and the mountain caribou.
“It is reassuring to see that Parks Canada has listened to Canadians who have clearly said they do not support large-scale developments in critical wildlife habitat” says AWA conservation specialist Sean Nichols.
A 2010 Parks Canada policy states new overnight commercial accommodations will not be permitted in Jasper National Park outside the town of Jasper. That policy would have to be amended to allow a maximum of 15 two-person tent cabins. Ogle says the timing of those decisions depends on whether Maligne Tours wants to continue with the rest of its development proposal.
According to Parks Canada currently nearly two million people visit Jasper National Park every year with 380000 coming to Maligne Lake.