Sunshine Village Ski Area Long-Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment

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Sunshine Village Ski Area is developing a new Long-Range Plan (LRP) to enhance the resort, while focusing on both guest experience and education, as well as environmental sustainability. This new plan involves upgrades and proposals that will positively impact our facilities and lifts.

Sunshine Village has been welcoming ski enthusiasts to the area since the early 1930’s. Now an internationally recognized ski destination, Sunshine welcomes skiers and snowboarders from early November through to late May. It is a popular skiing destination for hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, as well as a popular hiking destination throughout the summer. Since the

Sunshine Village Ski Area is developing a new Long-Range Plan (LRP) to enhance the resort, while focusing on both guest experience and education, as well as environmental sustainability. This new plan involves upgrades and proposals that will positively impact our facilities and lifts.

Sunshine Village has been welcoming ski enthusiasts to the area since the early 1930’s. Now an internationally recognized ski destination, Sunshine welcomes skiers and snowboarders from early November through to late May. It is a popular skiing destination for hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, as well as a popular hiking destination throughout the summer. Since the 1930’s Sunshine has developed its facilities and lifts to offer exceptional ski terrain and amenities to guests. We are excited at the opportunity to engage our guests during the Long-Range Planning process, and we look forward to hearing your opinions, ideas, and questions as we move forward.

Long-Range Planning Process:

In 2018, Sunshine Village worked with Parks Canada to create our Site Guidelines for Development and Use. These guidelines created a road map for Sunshine Village to plan and enhance facilities to ensure that we can continue to provide exceptional experiences for guests, while protecting and improving the natural environment. In 2019, a new 42-year lease was issued (thru to 2061) for the operation and development of the Ski Area. Sunshine Village owners, executives and managers recognize the need for continual enhancement of the facilities, services, and infrastructure to ensure that the company remains sustainable and competitive.

Following the approval of the Site Guidelines, and the issuing of a new lease, Sunshine Village must prepare a Long-Range Plan (or plans) and associated Detailed Impact Assessment (DIA) describing the group of project proposals, consistent with the Site Guideline direction that the ski area wishes to advance. Sunshine is able to proceed, at its discretion, with submission of an additional Long-Range Plan(s), apply to amend the plan, or advance projects that are consistent with the approved Site Guidelines. This approach may be repeated until a ski area reaches the permanent growth limits contained in the approved Site Guidelines.

The process of creating our Long-Range Plan requires collaboration between Parks Canada and the ski area, engagement with Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian public, as well as application of requirements under the Impact Assessment Act, SC 2019, c 28, s 1.

What’s included in our Long-Range Plan proposal?

It is recognized by all levels of management that Sunshine Village is located in a popular and important Canadian national park, as well as located within a Canadian Rocky Mountain UNESCO world heritage site. Due to this, Sunshine has placed Parks Canada values at the forefront of our planning, including the protection of wildlife, vegetation and the unique heritage throughout both Sunshine Village and Banff National Park.

The LRP advances components for multiple projects, summarizes the findings of our Detailed Impact Assessment, and outlines our plans to address the set of general requirements that must be reflected in the Long-Range Plan. These projects will create a new chairlift and lodge, as well as allow Sunshine to increase capacity while continuing to serve our guests an extraordinary experience in the Canadian Rockies.

What is a Detailed Impact Assessment?

The Parks Canada impact assessment process has been developed to fulfill legal obligations under the Impact Assessment Act as well as other legal and mandated obligations to protect and present Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. The process analyzes the nature of the project’s interactions with the environment and the potential for adverse effects. For more complex projects, or those in highly sensitive environments, the process of conducting an impact assessment is more involved and the analytical demands are higher. A Detailed Impact Assessment is Park Canada’s most comprehensive impact assessment process. This assessment ensures clear understanding of the potential project impacts, both positive and negative, and prepares the project to address any risks or adverse impacts.

Find out more and let us know what you think:

Below you will find links to the topics discussed in our Long-Range Plan and associated Detailed Impact Assessment. These links will provide you with detailed information on our proposed new chairlift and lodge, and plans for parking expansion, water management, vegetation, and environmental impact management, as well as other important topics. Further detail regarding our proposed Long-Range Plan and our Detailed Impact Assessment (completed by Golder Associates Ltd.), and additional associated links can be found in the Documents Library. Feedback on the impact assessment, including proposed mitigations, or opportunities that you feel should be considered in the planning process would be greatly appreciated.

After the comment period closes, all comments received will be compiled, reviewed, and carefully analyzed and used to inform the final versions of the Long-Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment for the Sunshine Village Ski Area. Finally, a report summarizing the feedback will be made public.

The comment period is open now until July 18, 2022.

  • Facility Upgrades

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    The facility upgrades in this Long-Range Plan consists of two components that will enhance facilities at Sunshine Village. These projects include the reclassification of temporary COVID-19 buildings to non-temporary commercial space and the construction of a day lodge located at the top of Wolverine and Jackrabbit chair lifts (Wolverine Day Lodge).

    Reclassification of Temporary COVID-19 Facilities to Non-Temporary Commercial Space:

    Overview:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines provides for a total of 3,650 square meters of additional new commercial space.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunshine Village obtained permits for certain facilities that were deemed for temporary use, until the public health needs subsided. This included:

    • Sprung Structure at Goat’s Eye – 418 square meters
    • Sprung Structure at Village – 418 square meters
    • Washroom at Goat’s Eye – 33 square meters
    • Washroom at Village – 33 square meters
    • Three self-contained kitchen trailers – 18 square meters x 3 kitchen trailers = 54 square meters
    • Conversion of operational space to commercial space within the existing Old Gondola Sliver Building – 125 square meters

    Goat's Eye Sprung StructureGoat's Eye Sprung StructureSunshine Village has determined that it is in the best interest of the resort to retain these facilities and incorporate them into the Long-Range Plan. This component will be a partial consumption of the new commercial space that was provided for in the 2018 Site Guidelines.

    It is recognized by the Resort that these temporary facilities do not meet the architectural themes outlined in Section 4.4. The Resort will propose to redevelop these facilities in the future, using a “like-for-like” development permit process in order to meet design guidelines. Like-for-like redevelopment will reflect the commercial space which currently exists within the temporary facilities. The timing of this will likely be between 5 and 10 years from now, after completion of the projects in the first Long-Range Plan.

    Scope:

    The scope of this project is administrative. This component of the Long-Range Plan will allocate 1,081 square meters of the 3,650 meters provided in the 2018 Site Guidelines. It removes the temporary status condition in the development permit and building permit for each of these buildings.

    Context and Need:

    The space provided is necessary to balance the supply of commercial space with the other aspects of the resort such as ski terrain, lift capacity, and parking / transit capacity. Visitors have expressed satisfaction with these facilities at the Ski Area.

    Policy Substantiation and Applicable Requirements:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines provide for the expansion of commercial space to address basic visitor needs and balancing of ski area components within the negotiated growth limits.

    The reclassification of these temporary facilities represents an expansion of the Ski Area’s commercial floor space by 1,081 m2. The total commercial floor area increase is included in the “resort balancing” analysis contained in Section 4.2 of this plan document.


    Top of Wolverine Day Lodge and Ski Way:

    Overview:

    The proposed Wolverine Day Lodge is for winter (ski season) use only and located at the top of the existing Wolverine and Jackrabbit chairlifts. The development includes the construction of up to 1,848 square meters of commercial space, plus the required operational and mechanical space, to be determined upon final design. Limited evening use may be considered subject to environmental review. The development may either be one building or a collection of smaller buildings within close proximity of one another immediately adjacent to the top terminals of the two existing chairlifts and will not exceed 1,848 square meters of new commercial space in total. Given topographical constraints, the buildings will not be able to be spread too far apart.

    The development area may include approximately .3 ha of footprint area for the actual building or buildings, based on final design. The project also includes a short (330 m) ski way (clear cut graded ski run) to reduce congestion to the northeast. Maximum building height will not exceed 15 m above existing grade. As an example, the Creekside Lodge at the base area is 15m tall. Basements may also be incorporated into the design.

    Tree removal will be conducted to create a pad(s) for the building(s), improve sight lines from the building(s), and allow for skier circulation around the facilities and lifts. Exact siting will be defined at the Development Permit stage of approvals and in consultation with Parks Canada. Additionally, water, sewer, propane and fiber lines will be installed underground to service the facility. Alternative locations for this infrastructure are described in the Detailed Impact Assessment and will also be finalized at the Development Permit stage of approval. The project may also be constructed as a phased development. These details, along with architectural and engineering plans, will be submitted at the Development Permit phase. The below figure (Conceptual Building Site Plan) illustrates a potential conceptual site plan of the buildings at the top of the existing Wolverine and Jackrabbit chairlifts.


    Conceptual Building Site PlanConceptual Building Site Plan (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 1)

    This project was historically known as the “Goat’s Eye Day Lodge” but has since been renamed the “Wolverine Day Lodge” and slightly relocated. The Goat’s Eye Day Lodge was analyzed and a Development Permit was issued in 2014 but that permit expired due to the passage of time. The former Goat’s Eye Day Lodge was approved for 3,300 square meters while the Wolverine Day Lodge being proposed now is 1,858 square meters.


    The reasons the Resort considered for the Wolverine lodge location are:

    • The limitations for where a lodge can be located in the Goat’s Eye Area Concept per the 2018 Site Guidelines.
    • The development footprint will fit the mostly flat area at the selected site.
    • Two chairlifts currently terminate at the site, but no day lodge services, or washrooms, currently serve this location.
    • Adequate underground power currently exists to the Wolverine Day Lodge site.
    • The ability to gravity flow wastewater downhill to the existing wastewater treatment plant is a significant advantage for the Wolverine location verses the bottom of Goat’s Eye. This eliminates the need to build a second wastewater treatment plant or a large pump station and underground sewer line from Goat’s Eye to the existing wastewater treatment plant. This solution also significantly reduces power consumption on a comparative basis.
    • The head/pressure on the proposed water line is sufficient because the Wolverine lodge location is lower than the existing domestic water reservoirs.
    • Skier circulation will work at the site. Note: The Wolverine Ski Way was designed to improve existing and future skier circulation at the site.
    • The Wolverine Day Lodge site enhances skier distribution across the resort and serves protected below treeline and easy ski terrain.
    • By not building this structure at the bottom of the Goat’s Eye lift, that area will not be as congested.
    • The site allows a phased project with a collection of one, two or three buildings within the analyzed area.

    As further clarification, the Resort will not be proposing to develop another “Goat’s Eye Day Lodge” in the future as the allowed future additional commercial space for the Wolverine Day Lodge will consume most of the additional space available under the 2018 Site Guidelines.

    The existing commercial structures at Goat’s Eye Base are all temporary construction systems and will be redeveloped in the future to bring them into conformity with the Architectural Themes. That work will be proposed as a “like-for-like” re-development.

    The building(s) will be visible from the top of the WaWa lift (from the west) and the top of the Goat’s Eye lift (from the north east) but will not be dominant due to the distance and small scale of the development relative to the vantage points. Since the elevation of the Wolverine Lodge is lower than the top of WaWa or Goat’s Eye top terminals, the viewer from these two locations will be looking down at the top of the building(s), located next to the top terminal of the existing Wolverine Express and Jackrabbit lifts. As per the Architectural Theme (4.4), the development will be constructed with natural colored materials using modern mountain design. The development will not be visible from the Village (from the south) or the Base Area (from the north).

    Scope:

    The site for the day lodge will be immediately adjacent to the top terminals of the existing Wolverine Express and Jackrabbit quad chairlifts (see below figure "Wolverine Day Lodge location at the top of Wolverine and Jackrabbit lifts in red"). Construction supplies and equipment will travel on the existing service road which has accessed the chairlift terminals for several years. Underground three phase power exists which currently services the chairlifts. Tree removal will be conducted to make a pad for the building, improved viewscapes to the east and south, and allow for skier circulation around the building and the lifts. An underground water line, sewer line, and fiber optic line will be installed from the day lodge down to the existing wastewater treatment plant, exact location for these underground utilities is to be determined with final engineering and options are shown in the Detailed Impact Assessment to this Long-Range Plan.

    The Wolverine Day Lodge building footprint is approximately .3 ha. Utility alignment footprint ranges from .74 ha to .31 ha.

    The ski way footprint is approximately .57 ha and will require additional vegetation removal and grading to level the fall line adding approximately .78 ha. The ski way will be approximately 330 m long, and the groomed surface of the trail will be approximately 15 m wide. See below figure "Wolverine Ski Way in green" for the preliminary footprint location. The conceptual construction plan is shown in more detail in the Detailed Impact Assessment for this Long-Range Plan.

    Context and Need:

    Sunshine Village has determined that a new lodge and ski way located at the top of the Wolverine chair is desirable and advantageous for the following reasons:

    • A construction road exists for access to the site, negating the need for a new road.
    • Underground electrical power exists at the site.
    • Water and wastewater will gravity flow to the wastewater treatment plant. This eliminates the need for additional infrastructure such as pump stations and/or a second water treatment facility, such as what would be required at the bottom of Goat’s Eye, for example. As a result, substantial energy / power consumption savings occur as a result of a gravity flow system from this site / location.
    • The site has two quad chairlifts that unload at the site but no services such as washrooms, food & beverage, or a place to warm up on cold days. The Wolverine and Jackrabbit terrain services a desirable blend of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain which is all protected from the wind and weather. During challenging weather days, visitors are drawn to these lower / protected slopes. From a visitor experience point-of-view, providing day lodge services is important for this location.
    • This central location will disburse visitors effectively for an overall high-quality visitor experience.
    • This component consolidates development in an area that has existing development, chairlift terminals, utilities, and road access in place.
    • The location of the lodge and ski way is below the alpine treeline and therefore visually unobtrusive from key perspectives outside of the Ski Area.
    • The ski way will improve skier safety and circulation by reducing congestion at the top of the Wolverine and Jackrabbit chairlifts by directing traffic away from skiers unloading Jackrabbit and Wolverine ski lifts.


    Wolverine Day Lodge location at top of Wolverine and Jackrabbit lifts in redWolverine Day Lodge location at the top of Wolverine and Jackrabbit lifts in red (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 2) Wolverine Ski way in green (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 3)


    Wolverine Daylodge waterline, sewer line, propane line and fiber optic line approximate location (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 4)



    Policy Substantiation and Applicable Requirements:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines provide allowances for the expansion of commercial space to address visitor needs and to balance ski area components within the negotiated growth limits.

    This component represents an expansion of the ski area’s commercial floor space by 1,858 m2. The total commercial floor area increase is included in the “resort balancing” analysis contained in Section 4.2 of this Plan.

    The 2018 Site Guidelines prohibits summer use within the Goat’s Eye Area Concept boundary. This condition will apply to the Wolverine Day Lodge.

    This Wolverine ski way represents a reduction of .57 ha of the approved 80 ha of new ski terrain in the 2018 Site Guidelines.

    The Wolverine Day Lodge and ski way is within the Resort’s existing Developed Area and within the Goat’s Eye Area Concept boundary per the 2018 Site Guidelines, both of which allow this development to be considered.

    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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  • Lift Upgrades

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    This Long-Range Plan consists of two components that will enhance lifts at Sunshine Village. These projects include the construction of the Goat’s Eye II chairlift and glades, and the addition of chair capacity and chair parking rail extension on the existing TeePee Town LX chairlift.

    Goat’s Eye II Chairlift and Glades:

    Overview:

    This component of the Long-Range Plan includes the construction of a new chairlift. This will be the second chairlift on Goat’s Eye Mountain. The project also includes clearing under the lift line, grading for the top and bottom terminal and lift equipment, and glading (thinning) certain tree islands between existing trails to improve the ski experience and skier safety.

    Scope:

    The project includes (see below figures "Goat's Eye ll lift location in red" and "Goat's Eye ll lift and glades"):

    • Construction of a detachable high-speed four or six-person chairlift with an uphill design capacity of 2,600 people per hour.
    • Extending the underground fiber optic and electrical power lines to the bottom terminal.
    • Grading and clearing at the top and bottom of the lift and clearing underneath the lift line (which will be up to 40 meters wide). Parts of the lift line and upper terminal are located in existing cleared ski trail areas. Additional tree removal and grading will occur at the top and bottom terminal to allow for skier circulation. A relocation, tree removal and grading of the Banff Ave. ski run and summer access road in the westward direction will occur to make space for the lift maze on the west side of the existing Sprung Structure and provide for safe skier circulation on the Banff Ave. ski run. Space is provided for the terminal, operator house, and parking rail for the chairs. These areas total approximately 3.13 ha. The conceptual construction plans are shown in more detail in the Detailed Impact Assessment for this Long-Range Plan.
    • Glading of certain existing skiable areas within the Goat’s Eye pod between existing clear-cut ski trails.
      • Selective tree and shrub removal would occur in the areas shown on the below Figure "Goat's Eye lift and glades". These areas total approximately 23 ha. The spacing will be approximately 13 - 15 meters between clumps and trees.
      • Some trees will not be removed from the top edge or sides of the gladed areas to contain and define the gladed areas.
      • Gladed areas will be cleared using a combination of low ground pressure machines including spyder, feller buncher, harvester, forwarder as well as hand work with chain saws. Logs, branches, and brush will be hand or mechanically skid and stacked on the adjacent ski runs, or within the immediate gladed area, and burned in accordance with BMPs and under PCA burn permits. It is not expected that any of the wood is merchantable (too small to offset cost associated with harvesting) and will therefore be burned on site. Some wood from the lower terminal location may be used for firewood at the Resort.
      • Burn piles will be located in the clearings between the leave trees. Maximum pile size is 7m in diameter and 5m in height. Ensure surrounding live trees will not be scorched or incur stem damage (girdling or burning of bark). All burning to be pre-approved by Parks Canada Fire and Vegetation Management Section. Burning operations require a Restricted Activities Permit from Parks Canada.
      • Limbing would occur for skier safety up to 3 meters above maximum snow depth.
      • Trees of different height/age/type will be left to provide for stand diversity where applicable and in coordination with Parks Canada.
      • Whitebark pine trees will be avoided.
      • All work would be handled in compliance with the 2008 Best Management Practices.Goat's Eye II Lift Location in RedGoat's Eye II Lift Location in Red (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 6)
    Goat's Eye Lift and Glades (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 7)



    Context and Need:

    Goat’s Eye I chairlift top terminal extends into the high-alpine. On poor weather days, during high-wind or decreased visibility, the visitor experience can be challenging on Goat’s Eye I. The Goat’s Eye II chairlift will have a lower top terminal at treeline. It provides a more comfortable experience on weather days. It will also spread visitors out between the two lifts, serving the vast Goat’s Eye Mountain terrain.

    There is a demand by advanced and higher-level skiers for improved tree skiing opportunities. On weather days, skiers prefer to ski within gladed areas to avoid the wind and poor visibility at the wide-open ski trails. The remaining trees provide wind protection and improve visual definition of the terrain for the skier.

    The lower terminal of Goat’s Eye II is located uphill of the bottom of Goat’s Eye I, dispersing skiers more effectively and reducing crowding at the bottom of Goat’s Eye I.

    Glading/thinning these areas will reduce wildfire fuel on Goat’s Eye Mountain. Reducing fuel will protect the facilities and assets in the event of wildfire.

    The terrain proposed for glading is within the existing skiable terrain at the Resort. This project allows more people of different ability levels to access these areas as a result of the thinning.

    Policy Substantiation and Applicable Requirements:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines provide for the expansion of lift capacity within the limits of growth (8,500 skiers at one time). The additional capacity added from this project is included in the “resort balancing” analysis contained in Section 4.2 of this Long-Range Plan.

    The 23 ha of glading will not count against the 80 ha of additional ski terrain approved in the 2018 Site Guidelines as these areas do not represent new ski trails/runs; more importantly they represent an improvement (through thinning) to existing ski terrain within the developed area.

    Goat’s Eye II and the glade areas are within the existing Developed Area, as mapped in the 2018 Site Guidelines.

    The tree removal activity would occur in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Ski Run and Vegetation Management Strategy developed and contained in this Long-Range Plan and the 2008 Best Management Practices.

    Additional Chair Capacity and Chair Parking Rail on Teepee Town Chairlift:

    Overview:

    When the TeePee Town chairlift was re-constructed from a fixed grip double to a high-speed quad chair in 2015, the uphill capacity of the lift was designed to be 1,800 people per hour. The initial uphill capacity built was 1,200 people per hour. This is because the development permit was a like-for-like permit and the chairlift being replaced had an uphill capacity of 1,200 people per hour.

    Scope:

    Twenty-four additional chairs will be installed on the existing ropeway. The parking rail, which is used to store chairs overnight and out of the high winds will be extended to accommodate and park these additional chairs. The footprint of the project is approximately .04 ha.

    TeePee Town Parking Rail ExtensionTeePee Town Conceptual Parking Rail Extension (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 5) Context and Need:

    The TeePee Town lift is very popular with visitors, as it is the only bubble lift with heated seats in the Canadian Rockies. The existing capacity of 1,200 people per hour is far below industry norms for a high-speed detachable quad chairlift. On cold days in particular, the line for this lift becomes very long. The additional chairs will provide an improved visitor experience.

    TeePee Town Chair Parking RailExisting TeePee Town Chair Parking Rail

    Policy Substantiation and Applicable Requirements:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines provide for the expansion of lift capacity within the limits of growth (8,500 skiers at one time). The additional capacity added from this project is included in the “resort balancing” analysis contained in Section 4.2 of the Long-Range Plan.

    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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  • Summary of Detailed Impact Assessment

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    Introduction:

    Ecological integrity is the first priority in the management of Canada’s national parks. Parks Canada recognizes downhill skiing as a cornerstone of winter tourism in Banff National Park. Carefully planned and managed ski areas contribute to Parks Canada’s objectives of providing meaningful visitor experiences.

    Under the Site Guidelines, The Sunshine Village Ski Area in Banff National Park has prepared its first Long-Range Plan, which details the ski area’s development plans for a period of five years. The environmental impacts of the draft Long-Range Plan have been assessed through a draft Detailed Impact Assessment, Park Canada’s most comprehensive impact assessment process.

    A Detailed Impact Assessment ensures clear understanding of the potential project impacts, both positive and negative, and prepares the project to address any risks or adverse impacts. In national parks, maintenance of ecological integrity is a mandated objective. Therefore, Detailed Impact Assessments focus on the effect a project may have on natural and cultural resources important to the ecological integrity of the park.

    The full Detailed Impact Assessment can be found in the Document library of this website.

    Summary of Detailed Impact Assessment:

    Sunshine Village Corporation (Sunshine) operates the Sunshine Village Ski Area (Ski Area) and is proposing to expand the resort within defined growth limits under a first Long Range Plan (LRP). The LRP will bring the resort into balance with the goal of achieving a capacity of 8,500 skiers-at-one-time (SAOT) from the current capacity of 6,500 SAOT; approximately 30% growth based on the existing supply of available parking, transit, commercial space, and lift service.

    Existing operations at Sunshine include 137 ski trails (runs) ranging from the upper alpine to lower sub-alpine and a lift system consisting of a single, two-stage gondola, nine chairlifts, and two magic carpets. The Ski Area offers sightseeing and hiking in the summer months. No changes to summer use are included in the LRP. Summer use operations will continue under annual approval from the Parks Canada Agency (PCA), consistent with the Site Guidelines for Development and Use (2018 Site Guidelines; PCA 2018a).

    This LRP advances concept proposals (the Project) for:

    • reclassifying existing temporary facilities implemented to address COVID-19 health protocols and requirements as permanent commercial space and adding three new mobile kitchen trailers
    • installation of additional capacity for the existing TeePee Town Chairlift, and a parking rail extension for the chairs
    • construction and operation of a new chairlift (Goat’s Eye II) and associated glading and grading for lift terminals. To accommodate the bottom lift terminal, a portion of the existing access road extending through the base area would need to be relocated further west
    • construction and operation of a new day lodge located at the top of the Wolverine and Jackrabbit Chairlifts (Wolverine Day Lodge)
    • a ski way near the top of the existing Wolverine chairlift traversing downslope towards the northeast to connect to the intersection of Forget Me Not and Christmas Tree ski runs (Wolverine Ski Run)
    • changes in visitor use from the currently approved design capacity of 6,500 SAOT to 8,500 SAOT
    • changes in the number of staff at peak times from 811 to a maximum of 885 personnel

    The construction of new projects advanced under the LRP are envisioned to occur over an approximate five-year period; operation of the projects will continue throughout the life of ski operations at Sunshine Village.

    The PCA is responsible for managing the land and the resources within national parks and has a legal accountability under Canada’s Impact Assessment Act (Government of Canada 2019a) to ensure that activities undertaken on the lands it manages do not result in significant adverse affects. The PCA has determined that the Project will be subject to a Detailed Impact Assessment (DIA) under the Parks Canada Directive on Impact Assessment, 2019 (PCA 2019a).

    PCA is responsible for issuing the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the DIA, which outlines the scope and requirements for preparing the DIA. A TOR was prepared by PCA and made available to the public for a 30-day comment period from July 23 - August 23, 2021 - Terms of Reference for the Sunshine Village Ski Area Long Range Plan - Detailed Impact Assessment (PCA 2021a; Appendix B)

    This document is a draft version of the DIA for the Project. The intent of the DIA was to evaluate the potential effects of the Project on Valued Components (VCs), which are key ecological and cultural resources that are characteristic of the environment, unique or outstanding features, and/or important to maintain visitor experience objectives.

    Assessment Approach:

    The DIA considers the potential positive and negative effects of the Project on VCs. Valued Components are defined in the TOR (PCA 2021a; Appendix B) and include the following:

    • Wildlife
    • Vegetation
    • Soils and Terrain
    • Aquatic Resources
    • Cultural Resources
    • Visitor Experience
    • World Heritage Site Outstanding Universal Value
    • Regional Infrastructure Capacity

    Potential effects were identified based on an understanding of the Project Description, the associated disturbance footprint, and planned activities during the construction, operation, and maintenance phases of the Project.

    Mitigations were identified to avoid and limit potential adverse effects and focus the assessment on residual effects, which are Project effects that cannot be prevented or avoided through the application of mitigations. Residual effects were described in detail using criteria such as direction, magnitude, geographic extent, frequency, duration, and reversibility.

    Finally, the DIA included a step to determine the overall significance of residual adverse effects on VCs, including indirect effects of the Project, reasonably foreseeable developments, and climate change considerations (cumulative effects), as well as monitoring, future requirements, and management plans.

    Effects on Ecology Integrity:

    Potential Project effects on ecological integrity were assessed in terms of changes to aquatic resources, terrain and soils, vegetation, and wildlife.

    Greater than negligible residual effects are not predicted for the groundwater, hydrology and drainage, terrain and soils, and sensitive or unique ecosystems VCs due to existing and approved projects, LRP projects, and RFDs after implementation of mitigations. Changes in these VCs are not expected to have a meaningful effect on ecological integrity in the area surrounding the Project.

    Valued Components assessed as having negative and greater than negligible residual effects following application of mitigations are water quality, fish and fish habitat, vegetation, and wildlife VCs.

    Water Quality:

    Residual effects of the Project on water quality are predicted from changes to water quality due to sediment releases and site runoff. With the implementation of erosion and sediment control best management practices, the input of sediment to waterbodies is expected to be low. Some changes to constituent concentrations are possible due to runoff from the parking lot. However, these effects will be reduced through improvements to the existing Healy Creek buffer, construction of a stormwater management system for the parking lot, and improvements to site drainage.

    Fish and Fish Habitat:

    Residual effects of the Project on fish and fish habitat are possible due to the overlapping and disturbance of riparian areas with the development of the Goat’s Eye Chairlift and glades. Some Project components may disturb or encroach on riparian habitat associated with Cayuse Creek that is designated as Critical Habitat for Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout and is a tributary of Sunshine Creek (DFO 2019a, 2020). At the current stage of planning for the LRP, the footprint elements for LRP projects are considered to be approximate, and effort will be made during detailed design to site these developments outside of the riparian zone defined for the affected drainage. Although the ephemeral drainage is designated as Critical Habitat, the proposed infrastructure at this location is primarily within a previously cleared area that has existing infrastructure present. Additionally, the area delineated as Critical Habitat was identified based on a desktop review of digital hydrography mapping information and, therefore, may not accurately describe the location of the drainage. The assessment of effects on fish and fish habitat is considered conservative given that additional effort will be made during detailed design to site the developments outside the defined riparian zone for the identified drainage. Additionally, the estimates include a 10 m buffer applied to each of the footprint elements to provide design flexibility and a further margin of error. Given the conservatism applied in the effects assessment, and potential to adjust the footprints during detailed design, the Project is expected to have a low magnitude residual effect on the fish and fish habitat VC. However, depending on the final disturbance footprint for the developments, and degree of overlap with the riparian zone for the Cayuse Creek drainage, no effects on fish and fish habitat, or negligible residual effects are also possible.

    If permanent footprints within the 30 m riparian zone cannot be avoided, Sunshine will engage with Parks Canada to obtain a Species at Risk Act (SARA) permit prior to authorization of the activities. If a SARA permit is required, Sunshine would adhere to all required permit conditions to protect Critical Habitat for Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout.

    Vegetation:

    Residual effects of the Project are predicted on forest communities and are primarily associated with vegetation clearing and ground disturbance during construction and the resulting potential for introduction of non-native weed species. Overall, the residual effect on forest communities is predicted to be negative in direction, low in magnitude, limited to the Project footprint, continuous, and reversible over the long-term with reclamation.

    Only the Goat’s Eye II ski lift upper terminal and any ski lift towers in the alpine is expected to impact alpine vegetation communities. No other Project infrastructure is expected in the alpine and all use of the alpine will be restricted to winter conditions. Overall, the residual effect is predicted to be negative in direction, low in magnitude, limited to the Project footprint, continuous, and irreversible.

    The Project might adversely affect Whitebark Pine Critical Habitat and Regeneration Habitat through the direct removal from the Project footprint and through continued fire suppression. Vegetation clearing, and terrain modification have the potential to contribute to a loss of Critical Habitat and regeneration habitat during the construction of the ski lift and ski run glading. Towers for the ski lift, the upper chair lift terminal and associated glading will be sited and constructed to avoid Whitebark Pine individuals, if present within the alignment. Selective glading will be completed in the gladed areas, which may contribute to Critical Habitat availability and minimize effects of tower installation. Although continued fire suppression will be required to protect infrastructure, regional management and glading associated with the Project are anticipated to reduce negative effects on Whitebark Pine Critical Habitat. Overall, the residual effect is predicted to be negative in direction, low in magnitude, limited to the Project footprint, and continuous. Habitat losses associated with towers and terminal placement space are considered irreversible.

    In addition to Whitebark Pine, two provincially listed plant species (Greyer’s Sedge and Blue Beardtongue) were documented during 2021 field surveys. An additional 39 historical occurrences of provincially listed plant species overlap the Terrestrial Study Area (TSA). Vegetation clearing and terrain modification have the potential to contribute to the loss of known occurrences or the available habitat for listed plant species. The known occurrences are not expected to be affected to a considerable extent by the Project; however, immediately prior to construction, a listed plant survey within the finalized Project footprint will document all locations of listed plants for construction mitigations. Overall, the residual effect is predicted to be negative in direction, low in magnitude, restricted to the Project footprint, and continuous. Losses associated with lift towers, terminals, buildings, road realignment, and utilities are considered reversible as transplanting of affected populations of listed plants will mitigate Project effects in the short-term.

    The main pathway by which the Project might adversely affect provincially listed plant habitat is through the direct removal of habitat due to the Project footprint. Vegetation clearing and terrain modification have the potential to contribute to a loss of habitat during the construction of the Project. Potentially suitable habitat lost due to the Project amounts to 5.2 hectares (ha); however, the magnitude of habitat loss is low (less than 1% of the TSA). A listed plant survey within the finalized Project footprint immediately prior to construction will be completed and locations of known occurrences of listed plant species will be documented and considered for mitigations during construction which may minimize the effects of the Project. However, removal of habitat due to the Project is considered permanent.

    Wildlife:

    Grizzly Bear

    The Project will remove 5.2 ha of preferred (non-forested) grizzly habitat. The Project will be constructed within non-secure (human use and elevation) grizzly bear habitat. The Project will not remove grizzly bear secure habitat or high quality grizzly bear habitats that are found along the Bourgeau massif slide paths, in cirque basins and alpine meadows along the Continental Divide, and in riparian areas associated with Healy Creek (Eccles and Strom 1994; PCA 2018b). Any increase in human presence in grizzly bear secure habitat due to Wolverine Lodge will be during the winter when bears are hibernating. Foraging habitat for grizzly bear may increase with glading and development of the Wolverine Ski Way. Effects from changes to habitat will be confined to the Project footprint, are considered irreversible, and will occur continuously over the long term.

    Grizzly bears are anticipated to be primarily affected by sensory disturbance during Project construction as grizzly bears hibernate during the winter when the Project will be in operation. Effects from sensory disturbance during construction are anticipated to occur frequently (i.e., during daylight hours) and to be reversible in the short term.

    The potential for food conditioning and human-bear conflict is considered negligible based on past performance and incident reporting at Sunshine Village.

    Direct habitat loss and alteration from the construction and operation of approved projects and reasonably foreseeable developments (RFDs) is predicted to have low magnitude effects on the grizzly bear population that intersects the TSA. The magnitude of changes will depend on the amount of vegetation that will be removed for RFD projects. A maximum of 80 ha of skiable terrain is allowed at Sunshine but the exact amount of vegetation clearing and type of habitat to be removed is uncertain at this time. Approved projects will result in no, or small changes, to grizzly bear habitat as work will primarily occur in previously disturbed areas. No change to grizzly bear habitat security is expected to occur with the development of RFDs as projects will likely be constructed in non secure (human use) grizzly habitat associated with the Sunshine lease and any increase in human presence in grizzly bear secure habitat will be during the winter when bears are hibernating. Changes to habitat availability from RFD projects are anticipated to be confined to the local scale, to occur continuously over the long-term, and to be irreversible.

    Changes to grizzly bear habitat availability from climate change are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude to account for the uncertainty regarding the potential effects of climate change. Changes from climate change will occur at the beyond regional scale, will occur continuously over the long-term, and will be irreversible (over the lifetime of operations at Sunshine Village).

    Mountain Goat

    The Project footprint will remove 5.3 ha of preferred (open) habitats for mountain goat, representing 0.1% of its availability in the TSA. Effects from changes to habitat will be confined to the Project footprint, are considered irreversible, and will occur continuously over the long term.

    Mountain goats are sensitive to anthropogenic disturbance (Richard and Côté 2016; Carroll et al. 2018) and so may avoid areas in proximity to the Project footprint, especially when humans are present (PCA 2022, pers. comm.). Mountain goats may be reluctant to enter the parking lot from the Healy Corridor if there are large numbers of vehicles or construction activity in the area (PCA 2022, pers. comm.). As such, effects from sensory disturbance from the Project on mountain goat are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude. Effects will occur frequently (i.e., only during daylight or operational hours) and sensory effects from construction are anticipated to be reversible in the short-term and sensory disturbance effects from operations are anticipated to be reversible in the long-term.

    Direct habitat loss and alteration from the construction and operation of approved projects and RFDs is predicted to have low magnitude effects on mountain goats, but the magnitude of changes will depend on the type and amount of vegetation that will be removed for RFD projects. A maximum of 80 ha of skiable terrain is allowed at Sunshine but the exact amount of vegetation clearing and type of habitat to be removed is uncertain at this time. Approved projects will result in no, or small, changes to mountain goat habitat because work will primarily occur in previously disturbed areas.

    Effects to mountain goats from sensory disturbance from the construction and operation of most approved projects and RFDs are anticipated to be of low magnitude and occur frequently. Effects from sensory disturbance from construction are anticipated to be reversible in the short-term and sensory disturbance from operations to be reversible in the long-term. Operation of the parking lot reconfiguration may have a moderate magnitude effect on mountain goats because this project has potential to negatively impact goat movements (PCA 2018b). Effects may extend to beyond regional scale if mountain goats avoid moving through the Upper Healy Creek wildlife corridor. Monitoring of mountain goats in the Sunshine Lease is ongoing and information from these programs may be used to develop adaptive management plans to limit effects from sensory disturbance at Sunshine. Any adaptative management plans would be developed in consultation with Parks Canada.

    RFD projects predicted to have low magnitude effects on mountain goats that are anticipated to be constrained to the local scale because most RFD projects will be constructed in areas that are largely unused by mountain goats (PCA 2018b). As such, effects would occur only if activities associated with construction (e.g., laydown areas) occur near Bourgeau Mountain and the base area parking lot. These effects would occur frequently and would be reversible in the short term.

    Changes to mountain goat habitat availability and survival and reproduction from climate change are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude to account for the uncertainty regarding the potential effects of climate change. Changes from climate change will occur at the beyond regional scale, will occur continuously over the long-term, and will be irreversible.

    Bighorn Sheep

    The Project footprint will remove 5.2 ha of preferred (non-forested) bighorn sheep habitat, representing 0.5% of its availability in the TSA. Effects from changes to habitat will be confined to the Project footprint, are considered irreversible, and will occur continuously over the long term.

    Bighorn sheep are sensitive to sensory disturbance and may avoid areas in proximity to the Project footprint (i.e., local scale) because of increased sensory disturbance during Project construction, as well as increased visitor use and staffing during operations. Sensory disturbance effects are predicted to be confined to the local scale. Effects from sensory disturbance from the Project are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude because of the sensitivity of sheep to human disturbance. Effects will occur frequently (i.e., during daylight or operational hours only). Sensory effects from construction are anticipated to be reversible in the short-term and sensory disturbance effects from operations to be reversible in the long-term.

    Direct habitat loss and alteration from the construction and operation of approved projects and RFDs is predicted to have low magnitude effects on bighorn sheep, but the magnitude of changes will depend on the amount of vegetation that will be removed for RFD projects. A maximum of 80 ha of skiable terrain is allowed at Sunshine but the exact amount of vegetation clearing and type of habitat to be removed is uncertain at this time.

    Effects to bighorn sheep from sensory disturbance during construction and operation of most approved projects and RFDs are anticipated to be frequent. Effects from sensory disturbance from construction are anticipated to be reversible in the short-term and sensory disturbance effects from operations to be reversible in the long-term. Operation of the parking lot reconfiguration is predicted to have a moderate magnitude effect on bighorn sheep because of their sensitivity to human disturbance. Sensory disturbance effects are predicted to be confined to the local scale for most approved projects and RFDs, but operation of the parking lot reconfiguration has potential to have beyond regional effects.

    Changes to bighorn sheep habitat availability and survival and reproduction from climate change are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude to account for the uncertainty regarding the potential effects of climate change. Changes from climate change will occur at the beyond regional scale, will occur continuously over the long-term, and will be irreversible.

    Mule Deer

    Habitat loss and alteration due to the Project is anticipated to have low magnitude effects on mule deer because the Project will remove 5.1 ha (1.5% of available habitat in the TSA) of preferred snow-free habitat and 24.9 ha (1.6% of available habitat in the TSA) of preferred winter habitat. Residual effects from habitat loss and alteration from the Project will be irreversible over the long-term, confined to the Project footprint in geographic scale, and will occur continuously.

    Sensory disturbance from Project construction and increased visitor use and staffing during operations could cause mule deer to avoid areas in proximity to the Project footprint (i.e., local scale). Mule deer can habituate to predictable human presence and so effects from the Project are considered to be of low magnitude. Effects will occur frequently (i.e., only during daylight or operational hours). Effects from sensory effects from construction are anticipated to be reversible in the short-term and sensory disturbance effects from operations to be reversible in the long-term.

    Effects from direct habitat loss and alteration from the construction and operation of approved projects and RFDs on mule deer are predicted to be of low magnitude. The magnitude of changes from RFDs will depend on the amount of vegetation that will be removed for RFD projects. A maximum of 80 ha of skiable terrain is allowed at Sunshine but the exact amount of vegetation clearing and type of habitat to be removed is uncertain at this time. Approved projects will result in no or small changes to mule deer habitat because work will primarily occur in previously disturbed areas. Changes to habitat availability from approved and RFD projects will occur continuously at the local scale and will be irreversible over the long-term.

    Effects to mule deer from sensory disturbance during construction and operation of approved projects and RFDs are anticipated to be frequent and reversible in the short-term (construction) or long-term (operations). Effects are predicted to be of low magnitude effect and confined to the local scale.

    Changes to mule deer habitat availability and survival and reproduction from climate change are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude to account for the uncertainty regarding the potential effects of climate change. Effects from climate change will occur at the beyond regional scale, will occur continuously over the long-term, and will be irreversible.

    Carnivores

    Residual effects on carnivores (wolverine and Canada lynx) from habitat loss and alteration from the Project are anticipated to be of low magnitude because the Project will remove 29.3 and 30.7 ha preferred habitat (1.2% to 1.6% of its availability in the TSA), for wolverine and Canada lynx, respectively. Residual effects from habitat loss and alteration from the Project will be irreversible over the long-term, confined to the Project footprint in geographic scale, and will occur continuously.

    There will be an increase in sensory disturbance at Sunshine Village during construction of the Project and from an increase in visitor use and staffing during operations. Wolverine currently avoid Sunshine Village because of light associated with the Village (Whittington 2022, pers. comm.). Increases in light levels from construction and operation of the Project are anticipated to be small and will not increase the area impacted by light from current conditions. Increases in visitor use and staff levels incrementally increase sensory disturbance levels near the Project footprint, but effects to wolverine are anticipated to be confined within the existing zone of influence around Sunshine Village (i.e., regional scale). As such, an increase in wolverine avoidance from the Project is not anticipated and the magnitude of effects is predicted to be low. Effects from sensory disturbance will occur frequently and are anticipated to be reversible in the short-term (construction) or long-term (operations).

    Similar effects are anticipated for Canada lynx, except this species is less sensitive to disturbance than wolverine and so effects from sensory disturbance are anticipated to be confined to the local scale.

    Direct habitat loss and alteration from the construction and operation of approved projects and RFDs is predicted to have low magnitude effects on the wolverine and lynx populations that intersect the TSA. The magnitude of changes will depend on the amount of vegetation that will be removed for RFD projects. A maximum of 80 ha of skiable terrain is allowed at Sunshine but the exact amount of vegetation clearing and type of habitat to be removed is uncertain at this time. Approved projects will result in no or small changes to wolverine and lynx habitat as work will primarily occur in previously disturbed areas. Changes to habitat availability from RFD projects will be confined to the local scale (i.e., the lease), will occur continuously over the long-term, and will be irreversible.

    Changes to carnivore habitat availability from climate change are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude to account for the uncertainty regarding the potential effects of climate change. Changes from climate change will occur at the beyond regional scale, will occur continuously over the long-term, and will be irreversible.

    Small Mammals and Bats

    Residual effects on small mammals and bats from habitat loss and alteration due to the Project are anticipated to be of low magnitude because the Project will remove 0.9 to 30.7 ha, or 0.9% to 3.1%, of preferred habitat for small mammals and bats in the TSA.

    Small mammals and bats are generally tolerant of human disturbance, but some species may avoid areas in proximity to the Project footprint (i.e., local scale) because of increased sensory disturbance during Project construction, as well as increased visitor use and staffing during operations. Effects from sensory disturbance from the Project are likely to be of low magnitude and will occur frequently. Effects from sensory effects from construction are anticipated to be reversible in the short-term and sensory disturbance effects from operations to be reversible in the long-term

    Direct habitat loss and alteration from the construction and operation of approved projects and RFDs is predicted to have low magnitude effects on small mammals and bats, but the magnitude of changes will depend on the amount of vegetation that will be removed for RFD projects. A maximum of 80 ha of skiable terrain is allowed at Sunshine but the exact amount of vegetation clearing and type of habitat to be removed is uncertain at this time. Approved projects will result in no or small changes to small mammal and bat habitat because work will primarily occur in previously disturbed areas.

    Effects to small mammals and bats from sensory disturbance during construction and operation of approved projects and RFDs are anticipated to be of low magnitude, frequent, and reversible in the short-term (construction) or long-term (operations). Effects on will be constrained to the local scale.

    Changes to small mammal and bat habitat availability from climate change are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude to account for the uncertainty regarding the potential effects of climate change. The Project, existing and approved projects, and RFDs are not expected to have residual effects on small mammals and bats from increases in mortality after implementation of mitigation.

    Birds

    Residual effects on birds from habitat loss and alteration due to the Project are anticipated to be of low magnitude because the Project will remove 5.3 to 24.9 ha, or 0.9% to 1.6%, of preferred habitat for birds in the TSA.

    Additional suitable habitat for birds may be lost in proximity to the Project footprint (i.e., local scale) if individuals avoid the area because of sensory disturbance from construction activities. Sensory disturbance effects from operations will not influence birds as most bird species migrate during the winter ski season. Effects from construction will occur frequently (i.e., only during daylight hours) and sensory disturbance effects are anticipated to be reversible after construction is complete (i.e., in the short-term).

    Direct habitat loss and alteration from the construction and operation of approved projects and RFDs is predicted to have low magnitude effects on birds, but the magnitude of changes will depend on the amount of vegetation that will be removed for RFD projects. A maximum of 80 ha of skiable terrain is allowed at Sunshine but the exact amount of vegetation clearing and type of habitat to be removed is uncertain at this time. Regarding effects from approved and RFD projects, effects from sensory disturbance are anticipated to be frequent and short-term as effects are only anticipated during construction of projects, which will be confined to daylight hours.

    Changes to bird habitat availability from climate change are conservatively considered to be of moderate magnitude to account for the uncertainty regarding the potential effects of climate change. Changes from climate change will occur at the beyond regional scale, will occur continuously over the long-term, and will be irreversible.

    Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor

    Wary wildlife species may avoid areas in proximity to the Project footprint (i.e., local scale) because of increased sensory disturbance during Project construction. Effects from operations is not a large concern because the corridor is considered resilient to existing development and seasonal use patterns that have remained largely unchanged for many years (PCA 2018b). However, effects from construction could impact wildlife species. Mountain goats in particular may be affected because individuals have been observed to be reluctant to enter the parking lot from the Healy Corridor if there are vehicles or construction activity in the area (PCA 2022, pers. comm.). Higher noise levels during the day may also cause wildlife to avoid areas in proximity to construction activities.

    To be conservative, the overall effects from construction of the Project on the wildlife use of the corridor is considered to be of moderate magnitude. Wildlife are more likely to use the corridor during the snow-free period and effects from construction may result in temporary increases in avoidance of areas in proximity to the Project footprint during construction (i.e., local scale). Effects will occur frequently (i.e., only during daylight hours) and are anticipated to be reversible in the short-term.

    Effects to wildlife use of the Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor from sensory disturbance due to construction of approved projects are anticipated to occur frequently and are anticipated to be confined to the local scale. Effects from sensory disturbance from construction are anticipated to be reversible in the short term.

    The Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines determined that the construction and operation of the parking lot reconfiguration has the potential for considerable impact, risk or uncertainly on the Healy Wildlife Corridor; the uncertainty is primarily related to slope stability and potential growth in summer use (PCA 2018b). The parking lot reconfiguration retained slope shape by using a wire mesh/soil nail system for soil stabilization (Sunshine Village 2021b). This system is predicted to be better for allowing wildlife movement than a vertical retaining wall and is anticipated to allow vertical movement through the parking lot to the Bourgeau slopes, as well as horizontal movement along the slope (Sunshine Village 2021b). Potential effects from the operation of the parking lot reconfiguration would occur continuously and could occur at the beyond regional scale if wildlife movement through the corridor is compromised. Monitoring of goat use is ongoing and additional mitigations may be developed in the future to limit any effects. Based on the above information, the magnitude of effects from approved projects on the Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor is conservatively considered to be moderate and effects are considered reversible in the long term.

    RFD projects are predicted to have low magnitude, frequent, localized effects on the Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor because most RFD projects will be constructed in areas that are away from the corridor. Effects are anticipated only during construction and to be reversible in the short-term.

    Effects on Cultural Resources:

    Potential effects on cultural resources were assessed and no residual effects are anticipated.

    Effects on Visitor Experience, World Heritage Site Outstanding Universal Value and Regional Infrastructure Capacity:

    Potential Project effects on Visitor Experience were assessed including visitor education, compatibility of visitor use, visitor safety and access, and visitor perceptions of place and wilderness. Residual effects of the Project are largely positive. Adverse residual effects are limited to sensory disturbances and hazards during construction. These adverse effects are expected to be of low to moderate magnitude during construction, and localized to the development footprint, thus not overlapping spatially with other developments in BNP.

    The LRP is not expected to result in negative impacts on the ability of the elements of Outstanding Universal Value for the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site to attract and be enjoyed by visitors.

    Potential Project effects on Regional Infrastructure were assessed including the road transportation system capacity, water supply, demand and downstream water quality, electrical supply and demand and staff accommodation capacity. No residual effects are predicted on VCs from increased demand resulting from Project components.

    Significance of Effects:

    Overall, the residual adverse effects of the Project on ecological integrity, cultural resources, visitor experience, World Heritage Site Outstanding Universal Value, and regional infrastructure VCs were assessed through the DIA process as being not significant. Cumulative effects from existing and approved projects, the Project, RFDs, and climate change on ecological integrity, cultural resources, visitor experience, World Heritage Site Outstanding Universal Value, and regional infrastructure VCs are also assessed as being not significant.

    Project Benefits:

    There are several benefits potentially resulting from the Project, including:

    • enhanced accessibility of ski runs and facilities
    • enhanced parking access and availability
    • enhanced visitor experience as a result of infrastructure upgrades and expansion of visitor use spaces
    • increased opportunities for visitors to access viewscapes
    • achieving Resort balance with respect to design capacities of parking, transit, commercial space, lifts, and trails


    Comment on the Detailed Impact Assessment:

    There are many opportunities to participate the Sunshine Village Ski Area Long-Range Plan impact assessment process. You may leave your input below in the relevant comment box.

    You can also:


    When reviewing the draft Detailed Impact Assessment, Parks Canada encourages you to consider the following:

    • What aspects of the environment or cultural history of the area are you most concerned about?
    • What impact to the environment or cultural history of the area are you concerned about?
    • What knowledge do you have of the environmental or cultural history, potential impacts or potential actions that might help lessen impacts of the proposal?
    • Why do you think the potential impacts you identified are important to raise?
    • Are there any other projects that you are aware of that might contribute to any cumulative effects associated with the proposal?


    After the comment period closes, all comments received will be compiled, reviewed and carefully analyzed and used to inform the final versions of the Long-Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment for the Sunshine Village Ski Area. Finally, a report summarizing the feedback will be made public.

    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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  • Water Management and Snowmaking Strategy

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    The full Water Management and Snowmaking Strategy can be found in the Documents library of this website:

    As required by the 2018 Site Guidelines, a Water Management and Snowmaking Strategy (WMSS or the “Strategy”) has been developed in conjunction with the first Long-Range Plan (LRP). The purpose of the WMSS is to outline a strategic and consistent approach to water development and water resource management at the ski area. The WMSS considers projects and changes in use being pursued by Sunshine as part of the first LRP and is expected to be carried forward as the basis for subsequent LRP proposals in the future. Projects being pursued by Sunshine in advance of the LRP area also considered. Water management for the ski area will support and align with the parameters outlined in the 2018 Site Guidelines in addressing objectives related to water resources and the protection and maintenance of local aquatic ecosystems. The full Strategy document is available in Appendix A; a summary of the key elements of the Strategy is presented in this section.

    Projects and ongoing ski area operations in advance of the first LRP will be conducted with the overall objective of increasing efficiencies and water conservation at the ski area and improving ecological outcomes for local and downstream aquatic habitats, including riparian habitat. Achieving resort balance prior to additional growth and expansion activities will be an important objective. Key projects planned in advance of or in conjunction with the LRP that will address these objectives include upgrades to the Bourgeau parking lot and Healy Creek riparian buffer, and upgrades to the Sunshine Village WWTP.

    The upgrades to the parking lot were completed in 2021 with the intended goal of improving stormwater management, enhancing the riparian buffer between the parking lot and Healy Creek, and addressing capacity issues for parking at Sunshine Village. Planned upgrades to the WWTP will modernize the facility, with the intended goal of consistently meeting Parks Canada’s Leadership Targets for wastewater effluent release for phosphorus and reducing effects on water quality in Sunshine Creek. The capacity of the system is also being designed to accommodate 8,500 SAOT, thereby bringing the infrastructure development for wastewater into balance for future growth. Upgrades to the WWTP will be undertaken in collaboration with PCA prior to constructing the Wolverine Day Lodge.

    No changes to water infrastructure or redevelopment of the water system at Sunshine Village will be required to support ongoing ski area operations in advance of the first LRP. Where feasible, upgrades to facilities and infrastructure will be made to increase efficiency and reduce water use as part of routine maintenance activities.

    Projects advanced under the first LRP will be conducted with the overall strategy of increasing design capacity to 8,500 SAOT within existing Water Permit limits, while providing the adequate infrastructure development to support the increased use. The strategy also considers an 10% increase in staff under the LRP. As an outcome of the projected increases in visitation, domestic water use is expected to increase under the LRP. This will result in an increase in water withdrawn from Sunshine Creek, Rock Isle Lake, and the Bourgeau Well. However, the projected increase in water use will remain within permitted withdrawal limits. The results of a water balance completed in support of the DIA for the LRP indicate that the available water supply for the ski area is sufficient in most circumstances to meet the increased demand in water use, including domestic, snowmaking and emergency and firefighting purposes, under the first LRP. If required, water use for snowmaking would be limited to ensure adequate water supply to meet domestic demand.

    No changes in snowmaking coverage or associated water use are planned under the first LRP; therefore, water withdrawals from Healy Creek are not expected to change meaningfully relative to existing conditions. Healy Creek water withdrawals will continue to be managed within the limits of the 10/90 rule, which is considered protective of instream flow requirements for Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout.

    Some Project components may encroach on riparian habitat associated with the Cayuse Creek drainage that is designated as Critical Habitat for Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout and is a tributary of Sunshine Creek (DFO 2019, 2020). At the current stage of planning for the LRP, the footprint elements for LRP projects are approximate, and effort will be made during detailed design to situate these developments outside of the riparian buffer zone defined for the affected drainage. If permanent footprints within the 30-m riparian buffer zone cannot be avoided, Sunshine will engage with Parks Canada to determine if a Species at Risk Act (SARA) permit is required to authorize the activities. If a SARA permit is ultimately required, Sunshine would adhere to all required permit conditions to protect Critical Habitat for Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout.

    Projects developed during the first LRP will be constructed and managed within the existing water system at Sunshine Village. However, in limited instances, new or upgraded infrastructure will be required to advance these projects. For example, an underground water line and sewer line will be installed to service the proposed Top of Wolverine Day Lodge. Water conservation will continue to be a key objective during the first LRP and will be considered in the design of new facilities and replacement of aging infrastructure.

    Although not being proposed formally under this LRP, increased summer visitation over time is possible, and development of build-out projects as part of a second LRP could result in a further increase in domestic and snowmaking water use, and consequently, redevelopment of the associated water infrastructure. The development of new water reservoirs to provide additional storage for snowmaking and potable water use will be considered in a subsequent LRP to address the potential for increased water demand at build-out and to increase water security. These reservoirs may also mitigate potential risks of climate change and reduce on-demand water needs in Healy Creek.

    Other key components of the strategy that will be applied at all phases of development include ongoing maintenance and monitoring activities related to water resources, development of an Environmental Management and Monitoring Strategy (EMMS) (Section 4.9) that will include consideration of water issues, and planning and action to mitigate potential erosion and sedimentation concerns. Regular maintenance and monitoring activities related to the water system and aquatic receiving environment will continue during all phases of development, and to meet Water Permit requirements. Key objectives of the 2018 Site Guidelines and WMSS related to water use, conservation, and wastewater performance will be managed and tracked through implementation of the EMMS for the LRP. Adherence to Best Management Practises (BMPs) and mitigation related to sediment and erosion during all stages of development will minimize soil loss and protect downstream water quality and aquatic habitat functionality.

    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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  • Limits to Growth and Resort Balancing

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    Permanent growth limits established in the 2018 Site Guidelines can be found below:Permanent Growth Limits in the 2018 Site Guidelines

    Lift Capacity:

    The current operating lift system consists of a two-stage gondola, nine chairlifts, and two magic carpets. Brent Harley & Associates (BHA), a professional mountain planning consultant, concludes that the Comfortable Carrying Capacity (CCC) of the lifts is 8,077 after the addition of Goat’s Eye II lift (see below table "Sunshine Village Lift and Trail Comfortable Carrying Capacity, including Goat's Eye ll"). Sunshine Village lift and trail comfortable carrying capacity, including Goat's Eye IISunshine Village Lift and Trail Comfortable Carrying Capacity, including Goat's Eye II

    Ski Trails:

    The existing alpine ski trail system consists of 137 named trails, several above treeline bowls, and forested areas between the developed ski runs. These areas encompass approximately 431 ha of skiable terrain within the Leasehold area. The ski trail system currently has a carrying capacity of 7,949 skiers per day, not including Delirium Dive or the Wild West which are large areas outside of the lease boundary operating as ski terrain under Parks Canada Licence of Occupation.

    Sunshine Village has a good balance and variety of beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert terrain. However, on poor weather days, visitors are pushed down the mountain, out of the high alpine environment to the lower elevation forested ski slopes and glades where the terrain becomes more limited in those conditions. Goat’s Eye II and the proposed glading will help address this issue, as the top terminal is at treeline and the terrain it serves is protected from adverse wind and weather. This will help balance the available terrain in a variety of weather conditions.

    With respect to trail balance, it is acceptable (and desirable) from an industry standard point-of-view to have a reasonable excess of trail capacity as it creates a less crowded and higher-quality ski experience. This is often the case at world-class destination resorts. Conversely, urban resorts often have very high skier density on the runs with substantial crowding. When ski terrain capacity is substantially below the uphill lift capacity at a given resort, excessive density per hectare and skier crowding can occur. Fortunately, this is not the case at Sunshine Village Ski Area at the 6,500 SAOT (skiers at one time) existing condition or at build-out of 8,500 SAOT under the 2018 Site Guidelines limits to growth.

    Commercial Floor Area:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines provide for a commercial limit of 12,742 square meters at build out, including an additional 3,650 square meters of space. The 3,650 square meters of new space was determined in the 2018 Site Guidelines as the maximum amount of new space allowed at build-out and is intended to balance to 8,500 SAOT. This Long-Range Plan proposes to add 2,939 square meters of commercial space.

    An accounting of additional commercial space follows:

    Square meters of new space allowed

    3,650 m2

    Less: Wolverine Day Lodge -1,858 m2

    Less: Reclassification of COVID-19 Facilities

    -1,081m2

    Balance for future LRP

    711 m2


    Industry standard averages are 1.1 to 1.5 square meters per skier of commercial space. This Long-Range Plan is designed to assure that Sunshine Village is capable of hosting 8,500 SAOT with transit increases and parking capacity expansion (see section 4.2.4 of the LRP) on a peak day.

    An accounting of commercial space required in the Long-Range Plan:

    Current SAOT

    6,500

    Future SAOT

    8,500

    Increase in SAOT

    2,000

    1.1 square meters per additional skier x 2,000

    2,200 m2

    1.5 square meters per additional skier x 2,000

    3,000 m2

    This Long-Range Plan provides additional commercial space of

    2,939 m2


    Parking:

    Sunshine Village visitors and employees arrive by personal vehicle, transit busses and charter busses. Sunshine Village experiences an average of 2.5 people per vehicle. Sometimes this is as low as 1.9 and other times it is as high as 2.8. For the purposes of this analysis, using an average of 2.5 is reasonable.

    Projected number of skiers arriving by car under this LRP:

    Surface parking stalls at base area (November 2021)

    1,940

    Access road parking stalls

    475

    Proposed parkade stalls (located one elevation above the existing parking footprint)

    450

    Total parking stalls

    2,865

    Less: Employee cars

    100

    Total Guest Cars

    2,765


    At build out, the difference between skiers arriving by personal vehicle (6,913) and the skier growth limit in the 2018 Site Guidelines (8,500 SAOT) will be transported by bus. This level results in a transit ratio of approximately 18% for skiers, plus employees. This would require approximately 1,600 skiers to be moved by transit bus. Currently over 1,100 skiers arrive by transit. The Resort estimates that 1,600 will be achievable in the future.

    The Resort recently purchased a maintenance facility in the Banff industrial compound to house its transit operations. Sizable investment in this facility and a fleet of transit busses has occurred over the last five years. Currently, the Resort now owns and operates 10 of its own transit busses. Additional busses are hired on a daily basis to accommodate demand on peak days. Over the five-year period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, ridership grew from approximately 80,000 to 154,000 per season (including employees). As a percentage of total skier visits, this performance exceeds industry standards. The pandemic drastically cut transit ridership down to only 50,000 over the 20/21 ski season. For the past several years, the Resort has offered the transit service free of charge to increase ridership, promotes it through its social media channels, website, and through 3rd parties such as local hotels, SKIBIG3, and Banff Lake Louise Tourism. The resort also has a partnership with Sunshine Coach which provides reservation-based transit from Calgary on all weekends and holidays. The Resort estimates that transit ridership will return to pre-pandemic levels and continue to grow in the future.

    The above calculations are based on assumptions such as transit ridership demand and the average number of people per car. While 2.5 people per car has been a long-term average, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant decrease in riders per car. In the long run, if 2.5 people per car and/or the transit ridership predicted demand turns out to be unrealistic, the size of the parkade(s) may have to be increased in order to achieve balance at 8,500 SAOT. Since balance is an overall theme in the 2018 Site Guidelines, parkade development is allowed to be proposed outside of a Long-Range Plan, as long as it is located within the base area parking lot footprint and meets ecological integrity goals.

    The Resort will continue to engage with Parks Canada and ROAM to pursue additional partnerships to improve connectivity and transit ridership to the ski area.

    Parking on the access road is permitted on the lower section, below the avalanche zone. The Resort retained a professional consultant to develop an Operating Plan for parking on the road which outlines best safety practices. The operating plan has been approved by Parks Canada. Access road parking is subject to a Parks Canada permit which is reviewed every five years. Parking up to approximately 475 vehicles on the access road is presumed to continue under the Long-Range Plan. Continued access road parking is a critical component in achieving balance with the other facilities at the Resort at 8,500 SAOT.

    Conclusions:

    Due to the nature of topography, other operational and land use requirements, no resort attains perfect balance among all components. The goal is that the primary components are reasonably sized to work well together, harmoniously. The Resort’s Long-Range Plan does reasonably balance as illustrated in the below table "Component Balance under this Long-Range Plan". This reflects the 2018 Site Guidelines, which was authored to address previous significant imbalances and assure reasonable balance through phasing and at build-out of the Resort.

    Component Balance under this Long-Range PlanComponent Balance under this Long-Range Plan


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  • Adequacy of Supporting Infrastructure

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    Domestic Water:

    As per the Water Management and Snowmaking Strategy (found in the Document library of this website), sufficient domestic water is available for the existing Resort facilities plus the Long-Range Plan components. The existing water collection and storage infrastructure and the existing water permit allowances can accommodate the maximum capacity of 8,500 SAOT (skiers at one time) including staff accommodation and the hotel. No additional water storage reservoirs, wells, or surface diversions are proposed in connection with this Long-Range Plan. No changes to the snowmaking system are proposed with this Long-Range Plan. A new underground water line and a wastewater line will be constructed from the Wolverine Day Lodge to the existing wastewater treatment plant. In a worst-case drought year scenario, snowmaking in the village will be reduced to maintain adequate water storage in the existing reservoirs for domestic water needs at 8,500 SAOT, although this is a remote possibility based on the existing available reservoir storage. Please refer to Appendix A for further detail regarding water supply and demand, summer and winter.

    Wastewater System:

    Sunshine Village proposed in 2021, in advance of a Long-Range Plan, a project to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant operation and equipment to consistently meet the Parks Canada Leadership Targets as outlined in the 2010 Banff National Park Management Plan. The capacity of the system, treatment improvements and processes are being designed to operate with 8,500 SAOT, staff accommodations, commercial facilities, operational facilities, administrative facilities, and the hotel. A third-party professional engineer has been retained to demonstrate to Parks Canada and the Resort that the proposed work will meet expectations and the Banff National Park Leadership Targets. This wastewater treatment facility treats all effluent generated above the base area. Wastewater generated at the base area is hauled outside the park by truck. It is expected that the WWTP improvements will be in place prior to the completion of the Wolverine Day Lodge and within the five-year contemplated timeframe for this Long-Range Plan.

    Electrical Power System:

    The capacity of the regional power grid that supplies Banff National Park is well in excess of projected needs for the Banff National Park ski areas, communities, outlying commercial development. The distribution system within the resort is capable of supplying power for the present and future lifts and facilities in this Long-Range Plan. See the Detailed Impact Assessment for the Long-Range Plan for additional detail.

    Communication System:

    Sunshine Village has recently upgraded the capacity of its fiber optic and communications equipment. This new equipment and infrastructure improved safety, communications, and reliability.

    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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  • Staff Housing Strategy

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    Introduction:

    The 2006 Ski Area Management Guidelines and the 2018 Site Guidelines states that employee housing, except those required for security reasons, will be provided in the near-by communities. Additionally, Sunshine Village has several units in the upper village which continue to provide accommodation for staff. The on-mountain staff accommodation units are operationally critical due to the remote location of the Village and the Sunshine Mountain Lodge at the top of the gondola.

    Staff housing has always been a challenge for virtually all mountain ski areas in North America. Fortunately, in the Bow Valley, winter is low season for tourists so there is less of a demand from businesses for staff housing in the winter than in the summer. This allows Sunshine Village and its employees to rent excess staff accommodation bed capacity in the winter from 3rd parties. That being the case, the towns of Banff, Canmore, and the City of Calgary supply enough accommodation overall for the Sunshine Village staff in winter to make up for any shortfall in the amount of accommodation Sunshine Village controls directly.

    Sunshine Village is open for approximately 190 days during the winter, from the weekend closest to Remembrance Day to Victoria Day in late May. In the summer, Sunshine Village operates the hotel, lodges, sightseeing lifts, and a hiking operation from late June to late-September.

    The number of staff that Sunshine Village has on its payroll, including temporary and part time individuals, peaks at approximately 800 during the high winter season and 250 in the summer. Of that total, approximately 10-20 work at the Calgary Sales Office and live in the city of Calgary.

    The 2018 Site Guidelines do not anticipate expanding specific summer use facilities which, would add significant staff. Construction projects generate temporary employment during the summer, but Sunshine Village has adequate on-site housing for those workers.

    Inventory of Existing Housing:

    Sunshine Village has five buildings in the upper Village that provide staff accommodations in both the winter and the summer.

    Units in the upper Village (175 beds):

    1. Arnica
    2. Sunburst
    3. Mountain Holme
    4. Laryx
    5. Daylodge

    Additionally, Sunshine Village contracts approximately 70-80 beds with third party accommodations at the Banff Springs Hotel and the HI Banff Alpine Centre. Sunshine Village rents excess staff accommodation beds that these companies do not need in the winter.

    Winter Seasonal Staff Projection:

    For illustrative purposes, this chart is based on full build-out of the ski area under the 2018 Site Guidelines:

    Current and Projected StaffingCurrent and Projected Winter Staffing


    Conclusion:

    Staff who do not live in Sunshine Village controlled units live in housing tied through their partners job, RV/Van type accommodation, RVs with homes elsewhere, owner occupied and other rental units. Some workers commute from Calgary, Exshaw or Cochrane.

    Sunshine Village expects to house most of its staff at the upper Village and in the towns of Banff and Canmore. Those employees that work in the Calgary Sales Office will live in the city. The communities of Banff and Canmore have been aggressively approving and developing additional rental units for service workers. Winter is slower than summer and, as in the past, it is reasonably expected that this additional capacity will be available for meeting winter employee housing demands, which is when Sunshine Village has its greatest time of need.

    Sunshine Village will continue to make arrangements with other 3rd party landlords as this is an efficient way to supply housing for Sunshine Village staff members. The housing exists in the winter in the Bow Valley as the inventory is counter-seasonal (built for summer and underutilized in the winter).

    Sunshine Village is actively looking at ways to be more efficient with its staff including cross utilization and the use of new technology. Opportunities are emerging with how tickets are sold and checked, automated food distribution and ordering, etc. For example, Sunshine Village has recently launched a mobile (cell phone) ticketing system where visitors can purchase on their mobile device and go straight to the lift to be scanned electronically, bypassing the ticket office.

    At full build-out per the 2018 Site Guidelines, Sunshine Village projects that 885 staff will be required in the winter (approximately a 10% increase from current), and much fewer during the summer. With the inventory of housing at the upper Village, combined with housing in Banff, Canmore and Calgary, workforce housing will be sufficient to handle the current and additional staff needs.

    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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  • Interpretation and Education Strategy

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    Introduction:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines direct Sunshine Village to develop an Interpretive and Education Strategy for winter and summer. This strategy is designed to inform and connect visitors to the natural, cultural, and historical features of the Resort, and its significance to the national park and to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.[1] Furthermore, the Long-range Plan is to be developed to ensure that all aspects of the Site Guidelines are realized and to give further details on the implementation of these guidelines.

    The 2006 Ski Area Management Guidelines include the following principles to guide the preparation of Long-range Plans[2]:

    • Ski areas will contribute to a unique, memorable national park experience.
    • Ski areas will promote public appreciation and understanding of the heritage values of the park and world heritage site and local conservation initiatives.
    • Ski areas will be leaders in the application of environmental management, stewardship, and best practices.

    Sunshine Village’s Interpretive and Education Strategy for winter and summer is molded from these guidelines, aimed at informing, educating, and connecting visitors to the ecological, cultural, and historical aspects of the resort. Sunshine Village’s intent is to inspire visitors to explore Banff National Park, while respecting the fragile environment and fascinating history of the area.[3]

    Strategy Objectives:

    Sunshine Village’s strategy will address the following[4]:

    • A description of the key features of the area, and its significance in the context of the local ecosystem, the national park, the World Heritage Site and to Indigenous Peoples;
    • Objectives for visitor education and engagement;
    • Key themes, storylines and messages;
    • Use of digital communication tactics including social media and website content;
    • Use of non-personal (e.g., interpretive displays, print material, maps, signs, etc.) media to achieve objectives;
    • Use of personal programming (e.g., orientation sessions, guided programs, etc.) to achieve objectives; and
    • An evaluation program to determine the effectiveness of the strategy.

    The strategy objectives contained within Parks Canada Management Plan align well with Sunshine Village’s vision. As a world-class ski area operator situated in an exceptional environment in Canada’s first and most popular national park, Sunshine Village has a unique opportunity to engage and educate visitors on the importance of alpine areas, the protection of flora and fauna, climate change, and the historical use and cultural values associated with the land we occupy. Sunshine Village is committed to the development of year-round interpretive and educational opportunities that compliment both Canadian national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site values.

    Sunshine Village’s Interpretive and Education Strategy is guided by the following resources:

    • Parks Canada Ski Area Management Guidelines
    • Sunshine Village Ski Resort Site Guidelines for Development and Use (2018)
    • UNESCO World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Toolkit
    • Visitor engagement and feedback through Web Comments, TripAdvisor, and guest research.

    The strategy is an integral component to the broader 2018 Site Guidelines. It not only defines what the objectives and key messages are in regard to visitor education and engagement but outlines how Sunshine Village can realize key goals of interpretative and educational opportunities both indoor and outdoor, year-round.

    The key goals of this strategy include:

    • Enhanced winter season interpretation exhibits and programs.
    • Improving both the summer and winter guest experiences by adding increased information relating to historical and cultural / Indigenous perspectives.

    Sunshine Village’s Interpretive and Education Strategy is emergent. The strategy begins by informing the Ski Area’s long-range planning and will evolve as components enter the implementation period. The strategy will adapt in response to emerging awareness of conservation priorities, engagement with key stakeholders such as Indigenous Peoples, and evaluative visitor research. The strategy will be reviewed and updated as required to support Parks Canada’s public education and awareness goals.

    Overview:

    Sunshine Village Ski Area is located on the Continental Divide of the Canadian Rockies within Banff National Park in Alberta, and Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park in British Columbia. Both parks are listed within Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage site. The Resort operates within an alpine valley formed by the three mountains: Mount Standish, Lookout Mountain, and Goat's Eye Mountain. The diverse terrain includes Delirium Dive, named one of the top ten off-piste destinations in the world.

    Family ownership and stewardship is at the heart of Sunshine Village’s history, from the first ski vacation offered by the Brewster family in the 1930’s to today’s leadership by the Scurfield family. Historically, prior to European contact, the area that is now Banff National Park, including the Ski Area, was home to many Indigenous Peoples, including the Stoney Nakoda, Ktunaxa, Tsuut'ina, Kainaiwa, Piikani, Siksika, and Plains Cree. Indigenous Peoples utilized the area to hunt, trade, travel, survey, and practice culture. Sunshine Village strives to recognize the Indigenous Peoples of Treaty 7 territory as the original stewards of the land.

    Development from early ski operations into today’s iconic status as a world-class ski area is a much-celebrated story of ski pioneers, traditional alpinists, and modern athletes.

    In the winter, Sunshine Village enjoys a seven-month long ski season from early November until late May, the longest non-glacial ski season in Canada, with an average of nine meters (30 feet) of snow annually.

    The summer operating season provides visitor access to the Sunshine Meadows, a fragile alpine terrain situated at 2,300 meters (7,500 feet) where an extensive array of wildflowers bloom in July and August and the larch trees turn golden yellow in September.

    Protecting the pristine alpine environment and the education of visitors are two key values that underpin the moral fabric of Sunshine Village’s history while striving to present and celebrate mountain culture. During summer operations, Sunshine Village shares the cultural history and natural biology of the area through thorough interpretative displays set up in the Interpretive Centre at the Centennial Day Lodge. During the winter months, the Resort utilizes local volunteers in their Snow Host program. These Snow Hosts act as guides around the mountain, greeting guests as they arrive to Bourgeau and answering questions outside the ticket windows, at the bus drop off areas, and outside the Centennial Day Lodge in the Village. Further, the Snow Hosts offer free, guided tours, which are a popular way for guests to learn the ski terrain available at the Resort. The guided tours also include educational and interpretive content.

    Current Programming:

    As stewardship of this land has changed hands over time, careful consideration and planning has been undertaken to balance the development of the resort and increased visitation with the protection of this beautiful ecosystem.

    Current Programming - Summer Visitor Experience:

    Recognizing the early importance of an interpretative and education strategy, Sunshine Village, in partnership with White Mountain Adventures, a local outdoor adventure company, began offering guided hiking tours and educational experiences to visitors of the Resort during the summer.

    After nearly three decades of a successful partnership with White Mountain Adventures, Banff Sunshine took over summer operations at the resort in 2016, developing a comprehensive interpretive program at the Centennial Day Lodge, while employing approximately fifteen Trail Hosts in the summer season. Trail Hosts offer guided hikes of the Sunshine Meadows and provide a vast amount of information on the history and ecology of the area.

    Access to the Meadows transitioned from passenger vehicles operated by White Mountain Adventures to the existing 8- passenger gondola operated by Sunshine Village. The Resort is proud to offer visitors the highest lift-accessed sightseeing elevation in the Banff and Lake Louise area with 360-degree views of iconic Canadian Rocky Mountains, access to three pristine alpine lakes and a network of established hiking trails.

    As most of the summer land use is located in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. BC Parks, along with Parks Canada conduct regular monitoring of the hiking operation and interpretive information, providing feedback to Sunshine Village. This trail monitoring assists Sunshine Village to ensure that summer operations at the resort do not interfere with the natural ecosystem.

    Current Programming – Winter Visitor Experience:

    During the winter season, Sunshine Village retains 60 volunteer Snow Hosts managed by two supervisory staff. The Snow Hosts greet and answer questions for all guests, as well as provide tours around the mountain. Many of these volunteers are locals to the Bow Valley and are able to provide information on the mountains, the history of the area, the background behind the lift names, as well as introduce guests to terrain around the mountain.

    Sunshine Village works closely with Parks Canada to ensure that the winter sports operation has minimal impact on our environment. Guests have the opportunity to learn about these practices as well as the history of the mountain on the “Explore” page of the Banff Sunshine website[5].

    Sunshine Village strives to offer authentic visitor experiences that encourage people to enjoy the resort without negatively impacting its ecological integrity, using observation, interaction, and education as a means of providing that protection. Experience indicates that education and environmental monitoring are critical forms of protection for the Resort’s terrain both in summer and winter.

    Visitor Trends, Use and Expectations:

    During the summer operational months, Sunshine Village’s visitors are mostly comprised of international, destination travellers although some regional and local visitation occurs. During winter operations, the visitors include a more equal mixture of local, regional and destination visitors.

    Banff National Park and BC Parks are experiencing increased number of visitors annually, especially during the summer. Average visitation at the Resort for the 2017 summer was 33,000 guests . The 2018 and 2019 summer at Sunshine Village hosted 53,000 guests and 63,000 guests, respectively. Summer operations were suspended during 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and lack of destination travel due to border closures. Winter visitation has averaged approximately 550,000 visitors for the past several years.

    The demographics of the summer and winter visitor are similar. About 1/3rd of the visitors are families. Visitors are split roughly equally between male and female. The greatest age segment is from 25 to 34. The majority of visitors are active enthusiasts who enjoy sport in the outdoors, winter or summer.

    The current design capacity of Sunshine Village in the winter season is 6500 Skiers-at-one-time (SAOT), although the 2018 Site Guidelines contemplates increasing this number to 8500 SAOT. Summer visitation is expected to level off prospectively as there are no changes proposed for summer use in this Long-Range Plan. Winter visitation is expected to grow over the next five years but stay within the limits contained in the 2018 Site Guidelines.

    Objectives and Key Messages:

    Sunshine Village is committed to preserving and celebrating Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, working not only in accordance with the guidelines issued by Parks Canada, but striving to be a global model for multi-season sustainable tourism. Our objective is to enhance our current interpretive and educational resources, allowing guests to further engage and learn about Sunshine Village. Our key messages will focus on the history of the area, as well as communicate information about the ecology and environment surrounding the Ski Area.

    Past, present, and future land stewardship:

    ‘History is an open slate, but to become part of it your story has to be told.’[6] Recognize and celebrate our history of land stewardship from the traditional Indigenous use of the area for travel and trade routes, to the guiding of tourists by Bill Peyto, to the first ski vacations offered by the Brewster family, through to the current owners and stewards, the Scurfield family. Indigenous groups will assist with the creation of this programming.

    Protect your park: This second theme flows from the first - now that our visitors are educated about the past and present stewards of the Resort, we can educate them on how they play a part in the future protection of this special place. This theme incorporates environmental protection, personal and corporate responsibility, and conservation initiatives.

    We all belong here: A strong theme currently underpinning the Resort’s interpretive program is a ‘sense of place’ whereby the Trail and Snow Hosts educate visitors on what they see before them, from the mountains, the wildlife, to the wildflowers. This can be broadened to impart an understanding that we all belong in this special place - the people, flora, and fauna. This theme speaks to co-existing and survival of ecosystems.

    Future Program Concept and Message Delivery:

    Sunshine Village is in an area with very important ecological and historical resources. It is important to emphasize these resources so that our guests can respect, understand, and gain a greater appreciation for the landscape and history that the Ski Area is immersed in.

    Sunshine Village is committed to offering the most accurate and informative information to visitors of Banff National Park. In the past, the Resort has collected data from Parks Canada resources, as well as knowledgeable interpretive guides, who formed the basis for our current summer and winter programing. We will continue to use these resources, while also involving local Indigenous groups to help us deliver a robust, year-round interpretative program, with a greater emphasis on cultural history. A focus on the unique location between Banff National Park and Assiniboine Provincial Park will be emphasized, with a stress on the importance of sustainability.

    The Banff National Park Management Plan outlines a vision, key strategies and objectives which will help inform the Sunshine Village Interpretation and Education Strategy. In particular, Key Strategy 2: True-To-Place Experiences will be incorporated into the communication and education initiatives outlined in this strategy:

    National Parks provide exceptional opportunities for Canadians to develop a sense of connection to their natural and cultural heritage. The opportunity to be immersed in nature, history and diverse cultures while surrounded by true wilderness mountain landscapes is truly distinctive. Maintaining the authenticity and quality of this experience while ensuring that visitors understand its uniqueness is central to Parks Canada’s mandate. Visitor opportunities will be characterized by sustainability and responsiveness to diverse visitor needs and expectations. Activities and communications will be designed to advance understanding and stewardship of natural and cultural resources, encouraging all to share the responsibility of conserving these special places for future generations.

    Messages will be communicated through several different platforms, including digital communication, non-personal media, and personal programming.

    Digital Communication:

    Social Media:

    Sunshine Village provides informative and engaging daily social media posts through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok, and has acquired hundreds of thousands of fans through these social media sites. Currently, the Resort’s social media presence in the summer and winter is utilized to further educate the public on the history and natural beauty of the Ski Area. During the summer, communication is used to educate guests on what to expect when visiting the area, as well as introducing native plants and animals. During the winter season, Sunshine Village stresses the importance of avalanche safety and awareness through social media posts, as well as events such as Avalanche Awareness week.

    These social media platforms can be utilized to promote the Resort’s personal programming, encouraging visitors to gain a greater understanding of the area by booking a Hosted Trail Tour in the summer, or joining a Snow Host Tour in the winter.

    Website:

    Banff Sunshine currently has two webpages dedicated to the history of Sunshine[7] and the environment[8] under the ‘Explore’ section of the skibanff.com site. As part of this Interpretive and Education Strategy, the history of Resort’s webpage will be expanded to include more detail on the history of the resort, in line with the first key theme of past, present, and future land stewardship. Our summer website will also be updated to include a history of Sunshine Meadows.

    The environment webpage of the skibanff.com site will also be expanded to include relevant flora and fauna that our visitors may encounter during the winter season. Our summer website, banffsunshinemeadows.com, will also be updated to include greater ecological and preservation information under the ‘Information’ section of the website.

    Non-personal Media:

    Interpretive displays:

    In the summer operating season Sunshine Village has a temporary Interpretive Center located on the ground floor of the Centennial Day Lodge, which is transitioned back to a food and beverage outlet for the winter ski season. The Interpretive Center contains a series of educational panels and interactive displays that tell the unique story of survival in this eco-region and how plants and animals have adapted so that they can live and propagate from one short summer season to the next.

    The Center is staffed every day during operational hours. These staff answer questions, give directions, and tell stories about Sunshine Meadows, all with the underlying key messages of staying on the trails, not feeding wildlife, and not touching flowers or other vegetation.

    Currently, the Sunshine Mountain Lodge is home to a variety of watercolor art from local artists. This artwork can be viewed during all operational seasons by visitors and displays local scenery from the Ski Area during the different seasons through the year. Our intent is to add plaques to each painting, allowing guests to learn about the artwork, the artist who completed it, and the significance of the area portrayed in each piece.

    The Sunshine Meadows interpretive displays were updated in 2018/2019 through a joint interpretive media renewal project by Parks Canada, BC Parks and Sunshine Village. This project consisted of creating 15 display panels which are now located throughout the meadows in the Sunshine Village leasehold, as well as in the adjacent land and trail networks, which are the responsibility of BC Parks and Parks Canada. Each sign has a hand painted watercolor picture, created by a local artist, as well as informative text, which was written by a professional copywriter, who has a background in interpretive writing in the Rocky Mountains. The overall goal of this project was to enhance the visitor experience in Sunshine Meadows, while minimizing the visual impact on the surrounding areas. The details for each sign were collaboratively discussed between all parties, ensuring that the themes within the displays covered many areas, including, cultural heritage, peak identifiers and information regarding the flora and fauna found in the area.

    Sunshine Village has identified the need for additional interpretative displays for both summer and winter operations, in both a self-serving capacity to our visitors wishing to educate themselves, and as a supplemental tool for our personal programming. Additional year-round interpretive displays will be accessible to guests in common areas throughout the resort. These displays will allow all abilities to gain hands-on and engaging information.

    The displays will be reviewed under the following categories:

    Historical:

    • Indigenous history and their connection to the area.

    • Information panel about A.O Wheeler’s cabin near the base of Tee Pee Town.

    • TeePee Town chair lift explaining the moniker in reference to the 1920’s overnight campers.

    • Base area explaining who Mount Bourgeau is named after.

    • Looking out at Simpson Pass re George Simpson, referencing previous name of Shuswap Pass, an important cultural trade route with the Stoney in the lower Bow Valley.

    Geographical:

    • A description of the Great Divide.

    • Peak identifiers for the top of Angel and Goat’s Eye lifts.

    • A panel that speaks to the difference between the Alpine and Sub-Alpine Eco-Regions.

    Flora & Fauna:

    • Information about wildlife that you might see evidence of in winter, and others that are hibernating beneath the snow we ski on.

    Personal Programming:

    At the heart of Sunshine Village’s interpretive and education strategy is the Resort’s comprehensive interpretive program employing approximately 15 Trail Hosts in the summer season and 60 volunteer Snow Hosts managed by two supervisory staff in the winter season.

    Summer Visitor Experience:

    The main attraction for tourism to the Resort in the summer is our natural environment and our guided programs. Guests also visit the Resort to enjoy a less crowded and authentic experience in Banff National Park compared to many other ski destinations in the North America.

    Guided Programs:

    During the summer operating season, Sunshine Village offers visitors to Sunshine Meadows the opportunity to enjoy a Guided Hike with trained and experienced Trail Hosts, four times a day in one- and two-hour formats[9]:

    • One-hour interpretive hikes usually ride the Standish Chair Lift and walk the Standish Viewing Deck Loop, returning by riding back down the chair lift.

    • The two-hour Interpretive hike will ride the Standish chair lift and continue past the Standish Viewing Deck, returning along the Rock Isle Road.

    For overnight guests at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, a free one-hour interpretive hike is available from 8am through to 9pm daily.

    In all interpretive hikes, guests can expect to learn about the flora and fauna in the unique eco-region at Sunshine Meadows based on the things they see or hear that day, as well as information related to human history and culture, and the geological history of the Rocky Mountains.

    The Sunshine Village interpretive staff are hired based on experience and knowledge of the area. To ensure that these staff are well informed, the Resort puts an emphasis on continued education.

    Visitor Orientation:

    Interpretive Centre

    Stationed at the reception desk inside the Interpretive Centre, staff greet and interact with visitors, making sure they know where to go and what to do to best appreciate the experience of Sunshine Meadows. These staff members assist guests in understanding the various static and interactive displays and book guided hikes and lift tickets.

    Orientation at the Gondola

    Up to three trail hosts are stationed at the top of the gondola where they welcome guests as they disembark and provide information to help them get the best of the Sunshine Meadows experience and, most importantly, reiterate the three key messages of staying on the trails, not feeding wildlife, and not touching the flowers or other vegetation.

    Point Duties

    Every day, trail hosts are stationed at some of the more high-traffic areas in Sunshine Meadows. This task is referred to as a Point Duty.

    Trail hosts conducting Point Duty need only to stand at their assigned location in uniform, and an endless stream of questions, comments, information exchanges and personal stories from guests ensues. The three key messages are woven into every interaction.

    Typical Point Duties are assigned to the Standish Viewing Deck, Rock Isle Lake Viewpoint, and various other locations on the trails depending on the day.

    Roaming Patrol

    A presence of staff on the trails is key to making sure guests are compliant with our three key messages, especially on busy days. Trail Hosts on Roaming Patrol will also conduct basic maintenance and pick-up any garbage left behind by guests.

    Management of Bears and Other Large Carnivores

    From time to time, a bear may walk through the trail system and even through the village itself. The trail hosts educate guests on the importance of bear safety, and what to do if they should encounter a bear.

    Trail hosts are trained to clear the affected sections of trails and sequester guests in safe locations until the wildlife has moved on. This is done as a team effort in a coordinated response and all other on-trail duties are dropped while they manage these wildlife situations.

    Winter Visitor Experience:

    Guided Programs and Visitor Orientation:

    During the winter season, Sunshine Village engages approximately 60 snow hosts on a volunteer basis to offer personal programming under our Interpretive and Education Strategy. The Snow Host Program began as a way to offer free guided tours of the mountain through the winter season. To this day, the free tours are a popular way for guests not only to learn their way around the mountain, but also to understand some of the cultural history and geography behind the Ski Area. The free mountain tour is offered daily at noon during the winter operating season, meeting in front of the Old Sunshine Lodge, ending at approximately 3pm and is open to all guests on a walk-in basis.[10]

    Training for these snow hosts includes a tour around the mountain, as well as an outline of guest expectations for the program. To further increase the knowledge of the snow hosts, they are sent an information booklet prior to starting work. This booklet includes in depth information on the geography, flora and fauna, and cultural history of the Ski Area. This valuable tool is used by the snow hosts daily to help educate visitors.

    To further increase personal interpretive programming during the winter, Sunshine Village will station Snow Hosts at the top of popular lifts on the mountain. These Snow Hosts will be available to take photos, answer guest questions and provide educational information. Location examples for this programming includes the top of Standish and Divide Chairlifts on clear day, when many guests are enjoying the nice weather and beautiful alpine scenery.

    Strategy Implementation:

    To implement our strategy, we will need to go through several steps.

    1. We have reached out to local Indigenous groups to put together our Interpretive displays and staff training programs. Collaborating with these groups will allow us to share their stories and history, thus enhancing visitor education.

    2. Work with local guides and ecological experts to gain the information needed to complete our improved interpretive displays.

    3. Continue to work with Parks Canada to ensure that we are implementing our strategies in an appropriate way under the 2018 Site Guidelines.

    Desired Outcomes:

    Our desired outcome for our enhanced interpretation and education program is to create a more diverse and informative program for our year-round operation. With a larger focus on the historical and cultural significance of the area, we hope that visitors leave Sunshine Village with a greater appreciation for this spectacular region.

    Monitoring and Evaluation:

    To determine the effectiveness of the Resort’s Interpretation and Education Strategy, the Resort will use guest feedback, surveys, and reference guest online reviews. The programs and products will be adjusted, as necessary, to ensure that visitors are getting the most from their experience at the Ski Area and that the communication is aligned with the objectives of the Banff National Park Management Plan. The Resort will also reach out to the local Indigenous groups and invite them to tour the Resort periodically to evaluate the information we share to honor their history and use. At the end of the summer and the end of the winter, an internal evaluation of “what we learned” will take place to develop plans for the following season.

    References:

    [2] The Ski Area Management Guidelines, supra note 3. (Strategic environmental assessment public statement, 2006.)

    [3] Parks Canada. “Interpretation and Education Strategy – Table of Contents.” Sunshine Village Ski Resort, 2020.

    [4] Ibid.

    [5] Sunshine Village Ski Resort. “The Environment.” Banff Sunshine, https://www.skibanff.com/explore/environment.

    [6] Sanford, supra note 2.

    [8] Sunshine Village Ski Resort. “The Environment.” Banff Sunshine, https://www.skibanff.com/explore/environment.

    [9] Banff Sunshine Meadows. “Hiking.” Banff Sunshine, https://www.banffsunshinemeadows.com/hiking.

    [10] Sunshine Village Ski Resort. “Sunshine SnowHosts.” Banff Sunshine, https://www.skibanff.com/explore/sunshine-snowhosts.


    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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  • Transportation and Parking Strategy

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    Introduction:

    The Resort sits about 20 minutes outside the community of Banff and is accessed by bus or private vehicle via an 8km long access road running between the Trans-Canada Highway and the Resort base area.

    It is a very popular resort, and, as such, plays a significant role in mountain national park visitation and visitor experience, providing winter and summer recreational opportunities that attract visitors from Canada and around the globe. From the Resort’s main parking area and base, skiers and visitors take a gondola to the Resort’s lifts and main village.

    Parking has been a challenge for the Resort on holidays and weekends since the late 1970’s. Historically, parking demands over and above what is provided for in the main lot have been offset by skiers riding transit busses and parking outside the Ski Area lease along the Sunshine Access Road and/or two small Parks Canada parking lots at the bottom of the Sunshine Access Road.

    Sunshine Village owns and operates a transit fleet and bus maintenance shop in the Banff industrial compound and subcontracts with other transit service providers. The overall transit operation moves a substantial number of visitors and employees (both winter and summer) by bus from Banff, Canmore, and Calgary.

    Regulatory and Planning Context:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines serves as a road map to guide the ski area in planning a future that will protect and improve the natural environment while providing exceptional experiences to ski resort guests. With respect to parking, the 2018 Site Guidelines provide the following guidelines:

    In advance of a Long-Range Plan:

    • Skier -pedestrian shuttle systems or people movers within the existing base area / parking lot footprint;

    • Proposals to improve parking efficiency or capacity within the existing base area through relocating or reconfiguring existing facilities or parking space; and

    • Proposals for a multi-level parking structure(s) within the existing base area parking lot footprint, which reflect design and engineering that:

    o Meets all applicable building and safety codes and performance standards as legally required and/or otherwise determined by Parks Canada;

    o Considers the landscape, visitor use patterns, and architecture of the overall base area;

    o Ensures run-off from the structure is managed in a way that prevents deleterious substances from entering Healy Creek; and

    o Is sensitive to typical routes used by wildlife in accessing the Upper Healy wildlife corridor.

    Through a Long-Range Plan:

    • Measures to address sufficient parking demand for the existing design capacity of 6,500 SAOT (if not advanced through one of the measures above that may be implemented prior to Long-Range Plan approval),

    • Transportation and parking proposals consistent with a maximum capacity of up to 8,500 SAOT;

    • Other strategies for effective and efficient use of existing space.

    (Note: operational changes (e.g., carpooling incentives, etc.) to better manage parking supply that do not involve use of land, do not require Parks Canada approval).

    The 2018 Site Guidelines are further supported by the 2018 Strategic Environmental Assessment[1].

    After the issuance of the 2018 Site Guidelines, a new lease between Parks Canada and Sunshine Village Corporation was issued (2019) and requires Sunshine Village Corporation to prepare and submit to the Parks Canada superintendent a Transportation and Parking Strategy. This strategy can be submitted within a Long-Range Plan or stand alone. This Transportation and Parking Strategy is being submitted within Sunshine Village’s first Long-Range Plan and is written within the context of full build-out under the 2018 Site Guidelines. The reason the context is based on full build out is to demonstrate that the Resort’s parking and transportation system and strategy is not designed to exceed the growth limits (8,500 skiers at one time) as specified in the 2018 Site Guidelines.

    Strategy Objective:

    The 2018 Site Guidelines allow for a design capacity of 8,500 SAOT (skiers at one time). By using a successful combination people-moving tactics, the Resort provides sufficient access to meet this future design capacity (visitors and employees) while providing an exceptional visitor and employee experience.

    Detailed Objective:

    Build-out demand of 8,500 SAOT is successfully met by implementing a variety of tactics. This includes a successful mix and combination of increasing transit supply and demand, increasing average occupancy per car, and increasing supply of parking stalls at the base of the Resort. Sunshine Village also works to incentivize visitors to come at off-peak times such as mid-week and afternoons.

    Objectives for Resort Balance:

    Resort balance is best described as harmonizing the design capacities of parking, transit, commercial space, lifts, and trails. When one component is high or low, it puts pressure on the other components. The Long-Range Plan is designed to achieve resort balance.

    Scope and Context:

    Currently, Sunshine Village’s peak day is approximately 6,500 SAOT. The combination of parking at the base area, parking on the access road, carpooling, and mass transit successfully meets this level of demand, including the demand for employees at the Resort.

    In the summer of 2021, Sunshine Village completed a Stormwater Management, Buffer Enhancement, and Parking Reconfiguration project. This project was designed to meet the directives of the 2018 Site Guidelines for the protection of Healy Creek and balance visitor access capacity to 6,500 SAOT. The project also adds 250 parking stalls within the base area. In 2021, Sunshine Village also submitted a Development Permit Application for a phased parkade. The parkade will provide an additional 450 parking stalls.

    As of 2021, Sunshine Village owns and operates a transit department, with a bus maintenance facility in the Banff industrial compound. The resort also charters busses from third parties during peak periods. The number of people arriving by bus has grown dramatically over the past several years.

    Visitors also park vehicles on the lower access road and / or two small Parks Canada parking lots at the bottom of the access road on peak days. Sunshine Village hired a professional transportation planning firm to design a safety and operating plan for parking vehicles on the access road. This plan was provided to Parks Canada for review and approval. All recommended operational changes suggested by the consultant have been implemented, as required by Parks Canada in their approval.

    Sunshine Village has developed this Transportation and Parking Strategy which supplies the necessary access to the resort for the approved maximum 8,500 SAOT, plus employees. This is achieved with a combination of surface parking stalls, continued access road parking, parkade parking stalls, and mass transit.

    Current Situation:

    Visitors are made up of long-haul destination, regional, and local markets. Destination visitors either rent a car or use transit from hotels in Banff. Regional visitors arrive as destination visitors (rental car or transit) but usually stay fewer days. Local visitors mostl drive vehicles to access the Resort. Employees mainly use transit to ski on their days off and access the Resort on work days.

    Average occupancy per car is approximately 2.5 people although data indicates occupancy per car increases during peak holiday and weekends when families ski together.

    Visitor volume is busiest on Christmas week, Family Day week, and Spring Break week. Saturdays in late December through Easter weekend are also considered peak days. Most people arrive between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., although a smaller number of people arrive for afternoon half-day skiing.

    The Sunshine Village transit system, which is made up of its own fleet of busses and additional chartered busses, picks up frequently (during busy times, every 30 minutes) in Banff at numerous locations, including most large hotels.

    When visitors park on the access road, Sunshine Village operates transit busses to pick up and drop off at designed bus stops where cars are not permitted to park.

    Parking capacity for the 2021/2022 winter season includes 1,940 stalls at the base area and the access road provides 475 stalls. This is a total of 2,415 stalls. On a peak day, approximately 1,100 people arrive by bus (visitors plus employees). That combination of transit and parking currently balances to 6,500 SAOT, plus employees.

    Future Conditions:

    When complete, the proposed parkade will provide an additional 450 stalls for a total of 2,390 at the base area.

    The access road will continue to provide and additional 475 stalls, and mass transit will make up the final balance to meet the allowable maximum of 8,500 SAOT, plus employees. It is assumed that Sunshine Village will continue to park up to 475 cars on the access road. That parking is necessary for all elements to work together (surface parking, parkade, access road parking, and transit) in order for the Transportation and Parking Strategy to be successful in the long and balance to the other facilities at the Resort.

    Implementation Plan and Schedule:

    During the summer of 2021, Sunshine Village completed the Stormwater Management, Buffer Enhancement and Parking reconfiguration project which added 250 stalls.

    The parkade first phase construction is being planned for the summer/fall of 2022, likely with relocation of utilities and preliminary site work. The parkade will be constructed in several phases to match the construction costs with the demand for additional stalls while not exceeding the maximum 8500 SAOT per the 2018 Site Guidelines. Sunshine Village expects that estimated future demand / growth to occur over time (potentially several years).

    Sunshine Village is in control of the transit operation as most of the busses are owned by the Company. Each year for the past several years, Sunshine Village has increased the size of its fleet to fulfill the public demand for transit and will continue to do as circumstances warrant.

    References:

    [1] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort. 2018.

    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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  • Ski Run and Vegetation Management Strategy

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    Introduction:

    Sunshine Village has 137 trails/runs at the Ski Area that provide a range of high-quality ski opportunities for visitors to Banff National Park. The ski runs are situated in a variety of bio-climatic zones from upper alpine to lower sub-alpine.

    The core of the Sunshine Village Ski Area experience is the open alpine environment.[1] In the winter, open alpine slopes, ample snowfall along the Continental Divide and spectacular scenery provide an exceptional skiing and snowboarding experience. In the summer season, the spectacular alpine scenery is enhanced with exceptional wildflower displays. However, alpine vegetative communities are fragile and require thoughtful planning as well as conscientious operations on a day-to-day basis from Sunshine Village staff and management.

    The Resort and Parks Canada understand that ski run and vegetation management is important for ecological integrity as well as the visitor experience.

    Tree Stands Near Treeline on Goat's Eye During Late SpringTree Stands Near Treeline on Goat's Eye During Late Spring

    Regulatory and Planning Context:

    The 2006 Ski Area Management Guidelines provide the overarching policy and planning foundation for the four mountain park ski areas. The Banff National Park Management Plan sets forth a vision for the future of the park, and strategic goals and key actions for achieving the vision. The Species at Risk Act (SC 2002, c 29) (“SARA”) identifies certain species that must be protected. Rare plants listed in the Alberta Conservation Information Management System (ACIMS) identifies certain species which are managed according to the ACIMS standards. The direction for the Sunshine Village Ski Run and Vegetation Management Strategy is outlined in the 2018 Site Guidelines and Strategic Environmental Assessment.

    Strategy Objective:

    The ski run and vegetation management approach for the ski resort is consistent with the approved design capacity limits and with the ecological management parameters as outlined the 2018 Site Guidelines and regulatory direction for SARA and ACIMS.

    Detailed Objectives:

    The Long-Range Plan as well as any development and use proposals for Sunshine Village must demonstrate that the ecological management parameters have been fully considered and effectively addressed.

    Considerations specific to native vegetation communities are:

    • Managing for changes to vegetation structure and maintenance of alpine vegetation communities.
    • Ensuring the protection and recovery of Species at Risk such as Whitebark Pine individuals and communities, as well as rare species such as limber pine.
    • Maintaining the diversity of subalpine and alpine vegetation characteristic of the Sunshine Meadows environment.


    Native species and communities should dominate vegetation throughout the Ski Area reflecting regional and local vegetation structure and diversity.[2] This is supported by:

    • Glading and thinning to stimulate natural vegetation patterns and structure and reduce wildfire fuels.
    • Below tree line, the maximum width of new runs is 50 meters.
    • On either side of runs, a strip of forest at least as wide as the run must remain (excepting gladed areas) for all new runs or modifications to runs, if possible.
    • Forested areas between runs are irregular in shape and of sufficient size to provide effective wildlife habitat and movement cover.

    Native vegetation should serve as an anchor against soil and terrain erosion.[3] This is supported by:

    • Construction, terrain modification and vegetation removal activities that avoid the disturbance of saturated soils or surficial deposits.
    • Construction and terrain modification that do not alter rock flow features.
    • Identification and stabilization of existing erosion sites.

    Habitat conditions for rare and sensitive species should be maintained, including critical habitat for all species listed under the Species at Risk Act. [4]This is supported by:

    • Favourable habitat conditions, stand and age distribution of Whitebark pine so as to sustain the ecological function of the species, are enhanced and maintained over time across its expected range at the ski resort.
    • Old growth Larch are protected where possible. It is likely the only potential old growth Larch that may need to be removed in connection with this Long-Range Plan are in the vicinity of the upper Goat’s Eye II lift line corridor for safety purposes and are very few in quantity. The glading areas and the Wolverine Lodge sites can avoid old growth Larch.
    • The composition and structure of vegetation provide habitat for the expected range of native species.
    • Rare and sensitive vegetation communities, and the terrain features and habitat conditions that support them, are maintained, or restored.
    • Annual surveys quickly detect non-native species, and they are immediately removed using pre-approved protocols. All results are recorded and reported annually to Parks Canada.

    Objectives for Resort Balance:

    Each of the four ski resorts in the mountain parks has a natural variety of ski terrain - beginner, novice, intermediate, advanced, and expert. Sunshine Village has a nice diversity of terrain within the leasehold boundary. Much of the ski terrain is above treeline, which provides an exceptional visitor experience with wide open vistas. During poor weather days, visitors are pushed down to the protection of the lower slopes and forested areas where they have better visibility and protection from the elements.

    The 8,500 SAOT limit under the 2018 Site Guidelines results in a skier density per hectare which is lower than many other ski resorts in North America. This creates a high-quality visitor experience.

    Sunshine Village does lack high-quality gladed areas for skiing as the tree stands have been fire suppressed for decades. Most of the tree stands are overly tight for safe and comfortable skiing, although some skiers and snowboarders still use these areas. This Long-Range Plan proposes glading (thinning) in the Goat’s Eye terrain pod. This project will provide improved tree skiing at Sunshine Village while reducing wildfire risks.

    Glade Style Ski TerrainGlade Style Ski Terrain

    Scope and Context:

    In connection with this Long-Range Plan, during the summer of 2021, Sunshine Village hired a professional consultant to create a site map and inventory of all whitebark pine, rare plants, limber pine locations and any non-native vegetation within the project areas as described in this Long-Range Plan.

    For the past several years, Sunshine Village conducts training each summer for its staff to be able to identify whitebark pine and limber pine. This is to help prevent accidental disturbance to the species.

    Below is an overview of the risks associated with whitebark and limber pine at the Long-Range Plan project locations:

    • Designating certain temporary facilities and approvals as permanent:
    1. No risk to whitebark pine in connection with this component.


    • Goat’s Eye II lift and associated runs and glades:
    1. Whitebark pine exist mostly near the upper elevations of this component as it is within the elevation band where the species are expected. Additional site-specific surveys will be completed prior to any ground disturbing activities. Species will be avoided with adjustments to tower placement. The project has the flexibility to avoid whitebark and limber pines. This is similar to the successful TeePee Town project in 2015. During that project, Sunshine Village adjusted chairlift towers up or down the rope alignment to avoid whitebark pine trees. Whitebark pine trees were also marked for protection to avoid accidental disturbance. The glading activities in Goat’s Eye can avoid disturbance to any whitebark or limber species discovered by survey.


    • A day lodge located at the top of the Wolverine and Jackrabbit chairlifts
    1. No risk to whitebark pine in connection with this component as it is below the elevation band of whitebark and/or limber pine. Much of the site has been previously disturbed from prior ski run and chairlift construction although some tree removal (fir, spruce, lodgepole pine) will be necessary for skier circulation and viewscapes (fir and spruce).


    • Additional capacity for the existing TeePee Town chairlift, and a parking rail for the chairs
    1. No risk to whitebark pine in connection with this component.

    Fire has been suppressed within the developed area for many decades. The glading projects at Goat’s Eye will reduce fuel near the chairlifts and facilities. Maintaining ski runs throughout the ski area maintains fire breaks and supports protection of the facilities and lifts from wildfire.

    Current Situation:

    Native vegetation plays a number of important roles in local ecosystem function and is a key element of native biodiversity[5]. Vegetation anchors soils and terrain against wind and water erosion and mass wasting, and it functions to capture and release water as part of the hydrologic system. Native plant communities contribute to structural habitat diversity in support of wildlife habitat and species diversity.

    A wide range of vegetation types are present in and around Sunshine Village, resulting from variable elevation and topography.[6] Within the lower subalpine ecoregion on the Ski Area, native vegetation is dominated by closed Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir forests. Lodgepole pine is less common, proportionate to the remainder of Banff National Park, and deciduous trees and grasslands are of limited distribution. The majority of the Ski Area is located within the upper subalpine zone, characterized by a mix of Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, whitebark pine and alpine larch stands. At higher elevations in the upper subalpine, alpine larch becomes an important component of many stands, and whitebark pine is more common. At the highest elevations of the subalpine, forest cover is reduced to scattered islands of stunted trees and a complex mosaic of herb and shrub communities dominates.

    Alpine tundra communities occur at and above the transition from the Upper Subalpine to the Alpine ecoregions.[7]

    Old growth forest and aged trees found within the Sunshine Creek and Healy Creek drainages have developed due to an extended history without fire, and they may be considered in part the result of long-term fire suppression efforts.

    Banff National Park’s historical fire regime changed significantly in the 1900s, with reductions to human-caused burning as a result of fire prevention programs and with the suppression of lightning-caused fires. A reduction in the area burned through natural wildfire has most impacted ecosystems with the shortest fire cycle, such as those in the bottom of the Bow Valley.

    Within the Sunshine Village Ski Area, lower-elevation subalpine lodgepole pine forests of the Bow Valley were historically characterized by fire cycles of approximately 100–150 years. Higher-elevation Engelmann spruce and subalpine forests in the Ski Area region are characterized by a historical fire cycle of 150–200 years. Old growth stands in the area, and in the mountain parks overall, are now considered to be overrepresented with regard to the distribution of stand age groups.

    While unique within the Ski Area boundary, the uniqueness of old growth stands on the Ski Area in relation to other stands in the local landscape may be considered somewhat less so. Old growth stands on the Ski Area are of considerable size, but there are many others in the surrounding valleys that are larger. Stand mapping for the area indicates that old growth stands in the surrounding Healy Creek and Brewster Creek valleys are relatively common, and there are other more significant old growth stands where the natural historical fire cycle is much longer.

    Whitebark pine is an essential element of ecosystem composition and function in many subalpine and treeline forests at high elevations throughout the mountain national parks, including all four mountain park ski areas. At the Sunshine Village Ski Area, whitebark pine occurs scattered throughout an elevation band beginning roughly at 2,000 m and extends to treeline. Sunshine Village’s observation is that the species is predominantly in the vicinity of the TeePee Town Express, Angel Express and Goat’s Eye, on west, southwest and northwest facing slopes.

    Despite its wide range, whitebark pine is susceptible to several key threats and has been listed as Endangered on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA).[8]

    Long before whitebark pine was designated as a species at risk, historical run clearing and lift development at the Ski Area may have resulted in the removal of whitebark pine. Similarly, ongoing vegetation maintenance at the Ski Area, such as brushing, maintaining glades, and removing hazardous branches, may have affected individual trees. Despite these impacts, whitebark pine continues to persist on the Sunshine Village Ski Area. To some degree, the persistence of whitebark pine on the Ski Area may be attributed to ski run clearing, glading and vegetation management that clears and leaves open spaces within maturing forest cover, where whitebark pine may successfully germinate and mature.

    Under SARA Sections 32 and 58(1), whitebark pine individuals and their identified critical habitat are legally protected[9]. Accordingly, special consideration of the species and protection measures for whitebark pine must be included as part of Sunshine Village’s operations and development planning in association with the application of other best management practices.


    Whitebark PineWhitebark Pine

    The Sunshine Meadows are widely recognized as an exceptional example of an alpine vegetation community. The contiguous extent of the meadows is unparalleled within the mountain parks[10]. The Sunshine Meadows are located on a large plateau and extend from Fatigue Pass, north to Mount Bourgeau and west to Healy Pass and the Monarch Ramparts. Further, the meadows comprise a diversity of alpine vegetation, the botanical characteristics of which are a key aspect of the ecological value. In addition to the federally listed whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), 69 known rare plant species have been documented within Sunshine Meadows. A rare plant survey conducted by Tannas (2017) identified five species of sufficient conservation concern that their status is ranked and tracked by the Alberta Conservation Information Management System, with rankings ranging from S1 (highest level of concern) to S3, including:

    • Taraxacum scopulorum, alpine dandelion (S1)
    • Arenaria longipedunculata, sandwort (S2)
    • Botrychium simplex, dwarf grape fern (S2)
    • Agoseris lackschewitzii, pink false dandelion (S3)
    • Boechera lemmonii, Lemmon’s rockcress (S3)

    The majority of the rare plants identified by Tannas were located along the Wawa Ridge. The exception was the pink false dandelion, which was found along the Simpson Pass East Trail[11].

    Non-native vegetation is present within the Developed Area is limited patches.

    Wildlife Habitat:

    Wildlife corridors are landscape features widely considered to serve important roles in wildlife conservation by connecting habitat patches and facilitating daily, seasonal and life cycle movements.[12] Wildlife corridors facilitate movement among patches of habitat, providing accesses to food and cover to meet daily needs, as well as facilitate connections between seasonal breeding, denning or migration areas. In landscapes that are increasingly developed and fragmented, wildlife corridors enhance habitat connectivity and reduce the adverse effects of habitat fragmentation.

    Animal use of wildlife corridors can be categorized into several types along a continuum from short, localized movements to long distance movements over tens or hundreds of kilometres.[13] Short-term movements occur as animals strive to meet their daily foraging and other life requirements. Medium- and longer-distance movements occur as part of seasonal migrations to access food resources and matting/reproductive opportunities, for dispersal required to maintain gene flow or to colonize unoccupied habitat patches, and for movement between source-sink habitats.

    Corridors are not only strips of habitat that animals travel through quickly to get from one patch of habitat to another.[14] Animals may need to forage, avoid mortality, find resting places, and avoid human disturbance while moving across landscapes at any scale. Wildlife corridors serve as habitat “linkages” providing required resources while small species pass across the landscape over the course of days or weeks. Corridors also serve simply as life-long habitat and provide multi-generational habitat connectivity for corridor-dwelling species that slowly disperse across the landscape over generations. Like wildlife crossing structures, wildlife corridors should allow for the maintenance or restoration of five key ecological functions:

    • Reduced wildlife mortality and increased movement within populations.
    • Meeting biological requirements such as finding food, cover, and mates.
    • Dispersal from maternal or natal ranges and recolonization after long absences.
    • Redistribution of populations in response to environmental changes and natural disturbances; movement or migration during times of stress.
    • Long-term maintenance of metapopulations, community stability and ecosystem processes

    Landscape connectivity may be considered as the degree to which the landscape facilitates wildlife movement and other ecological flows.[15] No two landscapes are likely to function the same way for wildlife movement. Terrain, habitat type, levels of human activity and climate are a few factors that influence wildlife movement and ecological flows. Identifying effective wildlife corridor and road crossing structure characteristics depends largely on the species of focus. Corridor characteristics are ideally focused on the identification of habitat suitability for a range of focal species that collectively serve as an umbrella for all native species and biological processes. With the broad purposes of wildlife corridors and habitat connectivity in mind, and for the purposes of this strategic environmental assessment, wildlife corridors are considered to be “…spaces in which connectivity between species, ecosystems, and ecological processes is maintained or restored at various levels”.

    In Banff National Park, much of the productive habitat optimal for wildlife use is concentrated in valley bottoms, overlapping with fragmentation and degradation from human development.[16] In the Bow Valley, the loss and fragmentation of montane habitat from development has resulted in reduced connectivity and impaired ability of some sensitive wildlife, including bears, cougars, and wolves, to move through the area. The Banff Bow Valley Study recognized that impaired corridor function for these species could negatively affect interactions between carnivores, ungulates and plant communities as well as increase the potential for human-wildlife conflicts. Accordingly, the maintenance and restoration of wildlife corridors in Banff has been an ongoing priority of the Banff National Park Management Plan.

    Multi-species wildlife corridors adjacent to developed areas may be more successful if they are sufficiently wide to buffer wary animals from disturbance, have relatively flat topography, provide high-quality habitat, and retain sufficient vegetation cover to provide security for animal movement between habitat patches.[17] For instance, wolves are considered to be a wary carnivore species that tends to avoid encounters with people. Wolf use of corridors increases with increases in habitat quality and corridor width, and wolf use decreases with increases in corridor length, slope, snow depth, and the presence of people.

    At the same time, it is well understood that even sensitive and wary wildlife species can move through and inhabit both natural and modified landscapes that do not even closely match idealized corridor conditions.[18] Most large carnivores are habitat generalists that can move through marginal and degraded habitats, and a corridor designed for them does not necessarily serve habitat specialists with limited mobility, or the specialized habitat needs of corridor-dwelling species. Many mountain stream valleys are naturally narrow, steep, and constricted, and they afford less than ideal conditions for the movement of large carnivore species. The same characteristics restricting valley bottom carnivores may afford more idealized cover and conditions for the habitat and movement of other species such as small mammals, bighorn sheep or mountain goats. The restrictions to carnivore movement associated with narrow, restricted, steep terrain and deep snow cover describe the natural condition of the Healy Creek valley both upstream and downstream of the Resort base area, even if no development were to exist.

    The Healy Creek valley connects the montane habitat of the Bow Valley to quality alpine habitat along the Continental Divide and on to the Vermilion Valley to the west[19]. The Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor consists of the Upper Bourgeau Slopes corridor located on the north side of the Ski Area parking lot and the Eagle Slopes corridor located on the south side of the parking lot and Healy Creek.


    Map of the Upper Bourgeau Slopes and Eagle Slopes corridors, part of the Upper Healy Corridor in Banff National ParkUpper Bourgeau Slopes and Eagle Slopes corridors, part of the Upper Healy Corridor in Banff National Park (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 8)

    Winter wildlife detections on snow transects in the Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor between 1995 and 2017 (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg 9)

    A full range of species uses the Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor, including bighorn sheep, deer, mountain goat, elk, coyote, cougar, wolf, Canada lynx, wolverine and black bears, and grizzly bears in the summer. [20 ]Winter transects and snow tracking, summer wildlife trail monitoring, and GPS radio-collar data together show that the Upper Bourgeau Slopes area is more highly used by wildlife than the Eagle Slopes. The Eagle Slopes corridor on the south side of Healy Creek provides a less-used, alternate movement route for wary species, including wolverine and lynx, connecting the Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor with the Sunshine Creek valley. Undeveloped lands at the east end of the lease adjacent to Healy Creek serve as a junction for wildlife moving between the Bourgeau and Eagle slopes and the Healy Creek valley to the east. Together, the Upper Bourgeau Slopes and Eagle Slopes corridors are used by a wide diversity of wildlife species.

    Wildlife Movement-Bourgeau/Eagle Slopes (for further detail, download the Maps Document, see pg. 10)

    Habitat in the Upper Healy Wildlife Corridor area also provides uncommon winter range for bighorn sheep and is an important traditional rutting ground.[21] Year-round habitat for bighorn sheep in the area is classified as very high quality to moderate quality, and the Mount Bourgeau-Healy Creek area supports one of the largest winter sheep herds in the park. During winter, sheep almost exclusively use the southwest slopes of Mount Bourgeau adjacent to the Bourgeau base area parking lot. The area also provides moderate- to good-quality habitat for mountain goats, which are also concentrated within habitat on the Upper Bourgeau Slopes. Mountain goats frequently use steep trails to access minerals and water near the Healy Creek valley from surrounding high-elevation habitat.

    Vegetation and Ski Run Management by Area:

    • The alpine zone has no road access and work which may negatively impact vegetation generally occurs over the snow. Any exceptions are communicated in advance to Parks Canada. A restricted activity permit will be applied for prior to beginning the work which outlines the means and methods.
    • Gladed areas will be maintained to “re-glade” if vegetation grows back in, while avoiding listed species. A restricted activity permit will be applied for prior to beginning the work which outlines the means and methods.
    • Developed, clear-cut ski runs will be maintained if vegetation begins to grow back in, while avoiding listed species. A restricted activity permit will be applied for prior to beginning the work which outlines the means and methods.
    • Wetlands, creeks, or riparian areas will be avoided when possible. If work needs to occur in or around these areas, a restricted activity permit (or any other required permit) will be applied for prior to beginning the work which outlines the means and methods.
    • Vegetation will be managed around buildings, lifts, and other facilities. A restricted activity permit will be applied for prior to beginning the work which outlines the means and methods.
    • 2008 Best Management Practices will be used in connection with any vegetation and ski run management work.

    Proposed Future Conditions:

    Following the Ski Run and Vegetation Management Strategy and details outlined above, the Developed Area reflects natural conditions in the context of a ski resort which is a leader in protecting ecological integrity and function of the ecosystems. The ski area operation and development protect natural features and sensitive and rare vegetation, prevents displacement of sensitive wildlife from important regional habitat and maintains adequate flow required for aquatic habitats.

    Future conditions will be met as follows:

    • Native species and communities dominate vegetation throughout the ski area, reflecting regional and local vegetation structure and diversity. Native vegetation serves as an anchor against soil and terrain erosion.
    • Glading and thinning stimulate native vegetation succession and support the role of fire.
    • Habitat conditions for rare and sensitive species are maintained, including critical habitat for all Species listed under SARA.
    • Non-native invasive plants are controlled. The Resort will work with Parks Canada Vegetation Management Specialist on Integrated Pest Management Plans and approvals. as required.
    • Priority is placed on the management of vegetation communities that serve as habitat for wildlife, and in particular the ecological integrity of their primary movement corridors.
    • Erosion control, re-vegetation and restoration activities are prioritized by Sunshine Village and generate successful outcomes which protect the ecological integrity of the ski area as a whole.

    Monitoring and Management Guidelines:

    Each development project will have its own Environmental Protection Plan (EPP) developed prior to construction. They will be submitted to Parks Canada for review and approval. Mitigation and Best Management Practices will be specified for each project. The timing of the same will be outlined in the EPP. For example, some activities are required to occur on an hourly or daily basis while others, such as post-project restoration occur at the completion of the project. Depending on the scope of the project, follow up monitoring may be required the following summer or two. Areas where compensatory planting has occurred would be monitored to determine if site conditions remain suitable for growth and cover.

    The success of noxious weed controls would be monitored at the locations of sites where noxious invasive species have been observed, with the focus on road sites, reclaimed and partially reclaimed areas.

    Sunshine Village would ensure reclamation performance standards are met for plant density and cover, and non-native species, for all sites undergoing reclamation.

    Sunshine Village would report annually on invasive species management, based on the data collected.

    Each summer Sunshine Village will collaborate with Parks Canada Banff Field Unit Resource Conservation Manager and wildlife specialist to provide annual staff training to ski area team members and review of any/all wildlife response plans.

    References:

    [1] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 82. 2018.

    [2] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 78. 2018.

    [3] Ibid.

    [4] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 78. 2018.

    [5] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 83. 2018.

    [6] Ibid.

    [7] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 84. 2018.

    [8] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 85. 2018.

    [9] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 86. 2018.

    [10] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 86. 2018.

    [11] Ibid.

    [12] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 29. 2018.

    [13] Ibid.

    [14] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 30. 2018.

    [15] Ibid.

    [16] Ibid.

    [17] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 31. 2018.

    [18] Ibid.

    [19] Ibid.

    [20] Parks Canada. Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Site Guidelines for Development and Use, Sunshine Village Ski Resort, pp. 33. 2018.

    [21] Ibid.


    Please note that all comments posted below are public. If you would like to provide comments directly to Sunshine Village and Parks Canada, please email lrp@skibanff.com.

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