Stop the Sunshine Village Parking Expansion sign now

On multiple days during the ski season when the Bourgeau parking area at Sunshine Village becomes full, customers are routinely directed by Sunshine Village employees to park their vehicles along the side of the access road. On a busy day cars are often parked along almost the entire length of the access road from the lease boundary at Bourgeau to the Healy Creek trailhead and parking lot, a distance of 8.5 km. Sunshine Village runs this parking operation which includes;

- Placement of signage designating shuttle bus stops along the public access road.
- Operation of shuttle busses solely to transport, pick-up and drop-off Sunshine Village customers along the length of the public access road.
- Placement of Sunshine Village employees on the public access road to stop, direct and park traffic.

Specific concerns include the following:

- Year after year, Sunshine Village has repeatedly and routinely extended its parking operations well beyond its lease boundary and is now using up to 8.5 km of public roadway in Banff National Park as an overflow parking lot.
-Vehicles are parked in very close vicinity to known active avalanche paths.
-Traffic control by Sunshine Village employees may result in vehicles becoming delayed, stopped or even stuck in the middle of the road in avalanche paths, areas of poor traction and in areas of poor visibility.
- The roadway is obviously not designed for a high-intensity mid-winter parking operation. - The use of the road to park cars results in narrowing of the available road surface which can be further narrowed by encroaching snowbanks. When cars are parked along the access road there is often insufficient room for two vehicles to safely pass each other in opposing directions.
- Members of the public (including children) are dropped off and picked-up at various locations and are subject to increased risk of injury or death from moving vehicles on the roadway (including cars, buses, commercial trucks, snowplows and emergency vehicles) as they try to manage ski or snowboard equipment, control children and access their vehicle or the shuttle bus.
- Members of the public whose vehicles are parked on the access road are often less experienced with tasks and safety cautions associated with the environment they find themselves in.
- During mid-winter the access road activity occurs during periods of low daylight or even darkness and members of the public are left on the roadway without benefit of any assistance or lights to guide them or to warn approaching vehicles of their presence.
- The period of highest pedestrian activity along the access road coincides with the period of highest egress traffic flow as the Bourgeau parking lot empties and a steady stream of vehicles travels back down the access road towards Banff. At the same time, shuttle buses are dropping off crowds of customers all along the same roadway.
- The speed limit on the roadway does not reflect the hazards associated with, and created by the parking operations and is inconsistent with the much lower speed limits in effect in the main Bourgeau parking lot.
- Emergency vehicles (which regularly respond to the ski area) may be delayed by the parking operations, traffic control, narrowed carriageway and excessive numbers of people on the road who may be encountered at any time and any location along the roadway.
- Every season there are incidents where vehicles slide off the road or into another vehicle. How long will it be before one of these incidents includes a pedestrian family trying to get back to their car?
- The road is regularly used for day-time deliveries by large trucks including semis and multiple large buses. At times these deliveries include dangerous goods such as explosives for avalanche control and bulk diesel, gasoline and propane.
- Sunshine Village is not the only reason this road is used. Park visitors use the road to access the back-country. These visitors are significantly inconvenienced by Sunshine Village operations on the roadway.
- It’s unclear what legal authority Sunshine Village has to stop and/or direct traffic on a public roadway or what type of training its employees have for this work. This workplace is no longer the parking lot it is a public roadway with all the associated hazards.
- It’s unclear to what extent Parks Canada and the taxpayers will have to bear the costs of any liability arising from this operation. As this area is outside the lease on a public road the legal consequences of an injury or fatality may be quite different from an incident within the Sunshine Village lease.
- How much garbage results from this operation. There are no garbage bins placed at the shuttle-bus stops. Who is responsible for a garbage check and clean-up along the access road and how far does that extend to either side of the road for garbage pushed off by snowplows or blown by the wind. Sunshine Village reduced its on-hill summer clean-up crews to a skeleton staff this past summer. It’s unlikely they bothered with the access road.
- To what extent does this intensive parking operation result in toxic spills from fluid leaks. Hundreds of vehicles parked on a repeated basis throughout the winter has a cumulative effect that that has not been designed for. Who is monitoring and assessing this possible effect on the adjacent lands and run-off?
- To what extent does the parking operation impact wildlife along such a long unbroken length of repetitive high-intensity activity. This area is known to be frequented by black and grizzly bears, cougars, wolves, ungulates and other wildlife. Sunshine Village operates from early November to late May and use of the road for parking is completely at the company’s discretion during that period yet no wildlife monitoring seems to be associated with the operation.
- The intensive roadside parking operation is not consistent with the minimum public safety, environmental and visitor service standards that should be expected of a world-class destination like Banff National Park.

More info here: http://wp.me/p1w4rb-hw

The purpose of this petition is to call on Parks Canada to hold Sunshine Village accountable for compliance with its lease boundaries and cease ad-hoc expansion into neighbouring areas of Banff National Park including the Sunshine Village Access Road which is a public road that was never designed for intensive high-density parking operations.

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Information

John SmithBy:
Nature and EnvironmentIn:
Petition target:
Parks Canada Agency

Petition community:
Sunshine Village Watch

Tags

banff, canada, national, park, parks, sunshine, village

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