Banff hashing out growth limits |

Banff hashing out growth limits

Allen Best

BANFF, Alberta – Banff continues to tango with that strange concept called sustainable limits to growth. The town is an island within a national park, and as such Parks Canada officials in 1998 said the expansion would have to be capped. Only 350,000 square feet of commercial space remain up for grabs.The mayor, John Stutz, wants the federal government to increase the cap to accommodate services he considers essential to a tourism-based economy. For example, the town has no car wash, no dry cleaner and no propane delivery.But the mayor misses the point, says Dave Campbell, a conservationist. He told the Rocky Mountain Outlook that Banff lacked these things even before there were growth limits. “This reminds me of a child in a candy store – ‘More, more, more,’ cries the child, rather than saving the sweets beyond a single, gluttonous afternoon,” Campbell said.Still, Parks Canada has not summarily rejected the mayor’s call.Parks Canada considers ski lodgingBANFF, Alberta Parks Canada appears to have opened the door a crack for ski resorts such as Lake Louise, Norquay and Sunshine Village to build base-area lodging, the better to compete with other ski resorts across North America.A policy that is decades old precludes ski resorts from building such on-hill lodging, but high-ranking officials from Parks Canada now say policy exemptions could be considered if significant environmental gains are proven.Ski industry representatives haven’t come out and said that they want base-area lodging, but Crosbie Cotton, who is director of the National Parks Ski Area Association, stresses what he insists will be dire economic consequences to local communities if ski resorts are not “sustainable.”Environmentalists said they do not want to shut down ski resorts in Alberta’s national parks, but made it clear they will not entertain expansions, withdrawals for water or on-site lodging.Vail, Colorado

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