The protected area network administered by Parks Canada is a gateway to nature, history, and 450 000 km² of memories from coast to coast.
Investing in these locations helps support the health of our natural heritage, increases climate resiliency, and creates jobs in our local communities while providing visitors with high-quality, safe, and meaningful experiences across the country.
Last Thursday, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced CA$8 million to launch public engagement and planning for the re-development in the 200-block of Banff Avenue in Alberta, an idea first envisioned almost 25 years ago, according to a news release.
“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in new visitor infrastructure and innovative programs and services for Parks Canada administered places. As Canada’s most visited national park, it is exciting to see this decades-long idea come to fruition for Banff,” said Terry Duguid, parliamentary secretary to the minister of environment and climate change.
“Now is the time to get involved and shape the future of the Banff Avenue 200-block redevelopment to create a space and place that is inclusive of all perspectives and that offers a gateway for meaningful connection to the iconic Banff National Park. This project will encourage a path to reconciliation, increased tourism and job opportunities, and inclusivity for this world-class park.”
Present for the announcement in the town of Banff was Senator Karen Sorensen, a long-time supporter of the project and Special Advisor to the Park Superintendent for the planning and engagement component of this project.
The Government is committed to investing in the revitalization of Parks Canada’s infrastructure assets for the benefit of all Canadians.
With this federal investment, Parks Canada will advance plans to re-develop facilities and open spaces in downtown Banff to welcome national park visitors, encourage them to connect with the park, and foster their understanding of the challenges faced by national parks.
“This federal investment will ensure one of the most treasured places in Canada continues to be a source of enjoyment, learning, and national pride. As a community member and leader in the town of Banff, it is my honor to continue advocating positively for this initiative in my role as Special Advisor to the Park Superintendent,” said Karen Sorensen, senator for Alberta.
“I strongly encourage public involvement in this rare opportunity to shape the future of this exciting project. Your input will be integral to re-developing facilities and open spaces that are representative of all voices and will warmly welcome visitors in the heart of downtown Banff and the national park.”
Over the past two and a half decades, Parks Canada has been working towards obtaining adjacent lands on the 200-block of Banff Avenue. The Agency is now able to start planning for the redevelopment.
Commencing immediately, this will include detailed studies of the site and engagement with Indigenous communities, stakeholders, and the public, to arrive at re-development options.
It is an important opportunity for Indigenous and local communities and Canadians to provide their advice and feedback on a re-development plan that contributes to the visitor experience and reflects their values and views for the first national park in Canada.
Parks Canada encourages Canadians and visitors worldwide to explore these heritage places. By building connections to nature and history, they can help foster the stewards of tomorrow, who are people who know and care about these special places.