More than a year after it closed down, the major ski lodge at the heart of the backcountry ski mecca of Rogers Pass remains shuttered. The Glacier Park Lodge enjoys a monopoly at Rogers Pass, with no foreseeable direct competitors due to its prime location in a national park.
Despite this formidable natural advantage, the future of the Glacier Park Lodge remains up in the air, as a complicated legal challenge makes its way through the courts.
Glacier Park Lodge has been closed since Sept. 30, 2012, when the owners shut it down and Parks Canada terminated their lease. Parks Canada refused to comment on its future.
“The Glacier Park Lodge issue is still before the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and it would be inappropriate for Parks Canada to comment further at this time,” wrote spokesperson Jacolyn Daniluck in an e-mail.
The court case, which was launched in June 2011, prior to the closure, is complex and difficult to understand. It involves a protracted legal battle between Yoho Investments, Abbot Ridge Investments, and a numbered company – together the former owners; Malcolm and Linda Campbell, who owned the hotel when it closed down; Parks Canada and several other named parties.
The initial filing claims that the Campbells did make payments on what was owed and the former owners were seeking ownership of the hotel, amongst a number of other claims.
Glacier Park Lodge was opened as the Northlander Hotel when the Trans-Canada Highway was opened through Rogers Pass in 1962. In 1968, Parks Canada signed a 42-year lease with the hotel owners.
In 2008, the Campbells bought the hotel from the former owners.
After the lease expired at the end of 2009, Parks Canada reverted to a month-to-month lease. On Sept. 30, 2012, the owners closed down the hotel and Parks Canada terminated the lease.
What appears to have happened since then is the Campbells went bankrupt and a court-appointed receiver representing the former owners was given control of their assets – including the Glacier Park Lodge and Revelstoke Lodge.
In May 2013, a judge ruled the matter could go to trial. Last month, a judge gave the former owners the right to sell the properties.
Throughout all this, Parks Canada has contested the validity of the sale to the Campbells, saying it was never approved by the government.
The matter remains tied up in the courts, as does the future of the Glacier Park Lodge.
Aaron Fu, the court-appointed receiver for the hotel, said the future depends on Parks Canada. “We’re waiting for their response,” he told the Times Review. “Without a lease, we cannot open.”
The Glacier National Park spokesperson said, “Future plans for the property cannot be considered until the legal process is complete.”
Two weeks ago, a man identifying himself as a hotel developer, called the Times Review to ask questions about the hotel. During the course of the conversation, it was brought up that the longer the hotel sits empty, the more costly it will be to renovate the building.
The hotel was said to be run down and in need of repairs. It had mixed reviews online, with a 2.5 star rating on the website tripadvisor.ca. It was popular with backcountry skiers and hikers looking for a cheap place to stay right in Rogers Pass but others criticized it for being dated and dirty.