The long legal battle over Glacier Park Lodge is over.
Parks Canada announced today that is has taken sole responsibility for the hotel and neighbouring gas station at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park.
The hotel has been closed since 2012, its future embroiled in a lengthy legal battle that was resolved only last week.
Parks Canada says it will be demolishing the hotel and gas station and will then they look at potential redevelopment of the site.
“While a full evaluation of the sites will take place in the coming months, we do know that the structures are now beyond repair, are unsafe and require demolition as they have deteriorated considerably since their closing in 2009 and 2012,” stated Parks Canada. “Next steps will be to remove the buildings, remediate the sites and draft plans for any redevelopment in the area to meet visitor needs as well as improve the ecological condition of the site.
“Any potential redevelopment will involve public engagement and consider present and future summer and winter services, visitor safety, and cultural and natural resource management requirements.”
The Review will be interviewing Nick Irving, the superintendent of Glacier National Park, on Thursday morning.
The future of the hotel has been tied up in a legal battle involving multiple parties that started in 2011. It involved a lawsuit between the hotel’s former owners and the people they sold it to, with numerous other parties, including Parks Canada, involved.
Essentially, the former owners, Yoho Investments and Abbott Ridge Investments, sold the hotel to Malcolm & Linda Campbell in 2008. The hotel carried a 42 year lease that expired in 2010. It continued on a month-to-month basis until Parks Canada terminated the lease in the fall of 2012.
The Campbells argued the lease should be automatically extended for 21 years, while Parks Canada said they didn’t adhere to the terms of the lease.
Meanwhile, the Campbells were unable to continue their payments for the hotel so the previous owners sought to get control back. On top of all that Parks Canada’s claimed there was environmental damage done to the site.
The lawsuit also involved other properties including the Revelstoke Lodge and properties in Sicamous and Quesnel, all of which were sold during the proceedings. The outstanding issue remained the Glacier Park Lodge.
Last week a settlement was finally reached that saw control of the hotel revert back to Parks Canada. The Review learned of the news on Tuesday and was waiting for an interview with Parks Canada when they sent out their news release.
“Our clients are no longer asserting their security against the building and the chattels,” lawyer Tom Kent, who represented Abbott Ridge Investments and Yoho Investments, told the Review.
He said he couldn’t comment on the terms of the settlement. “Glacier Park Lodge is now back under the control of Parks Canada and I have no knowledge of what they intend to do,” Kent said.
Watch a 2012 promotional video of Glacier Park Lodge below:
Glacier Park Lodge opened as the Northlander Hotel in 1962 when the Trans-Canada Highway opened through Rogers Pass. It’s steep green roofs made it stand out to drivers travelling through the Pass, but over time it started to become more 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.
There are also environmental issues related to the old gas station, which closed in 2009.
Read the statement from Parks Canada that was released today:
“Parks Canada is pleased to announce that we are now solely responsible for the properties of the Glacier Park Lodge hotel and service station located in Rogers Pass. Parks Canada’s immediate priorities are to secure the properties and mitigate the health and safety risks at the sites.
“Parks Canada recognizes the contribution Glacier Park Lodge made to the experiences of visitors to Glacier National Park over the years. The area around Rogers Pass is an integral part of Canada’s national transportation corridor, and offers access to world class hiking, backcountry skiing and breathtaking scenery for any traveller. Glacier Park Lodge was a valuable part of these experiences for many years.
“While a full evaluation of the sites will take place in the coming months, we do know that the structures are now beyond repair, are unsafe and require demolition as they have deteriorated considerably since their closing in 2009 and 2012. Next steps will be to remove the buildings, remediate the sites and draft plans for any redevelopment in the area to meet visitor needs as well as improve the ecological condition of the site. Any potential redevelopment will involve public engagement and consider present and future summer and winter services, visitor safety, and cultural and natural resource management requirements.
“Significant improvements are already underway in Glacier National Park as part of Parks Canada’s unprecedented investment in infrastructure work within national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas across Canada. Projects in the Rogers Pass area include TransCanada Highway improvements, a new permanent washroom facility adjacent to the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre and upgrades to aging water and sewer infrastructure. Investments in visitor infrastructure will ensure the quality and reliability of visitor facilities and will continue to enable Canadians to connect with nature.
“Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world, and Rogers Pass is among these treasures. Parks Canada looks forward to sharing this iconic part of Canada with visitors as a place to experience the outdoors and learn about our history for generations to come.”
More to follow…