Mount Revelstoke & Glacier National Parks have received more than $150 million for infrastructure upgrades, including money for highway improvements, avalanche mitigation, trail rehabilitation, and visitor centre renovations.
David Wilks, the MP for Kootenay-Columbia, and Dr. Colin Carrie, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, announced the funding at the Monashee Lookout in Mount Revelstoke National Park last Thursday morning.
With a blue backdrop that featured the Parks Canada logo and the Conservative government’s jobs messaging, Wilks and Carrie announced the $156.6 million in spending. Some of it is for work that is already complete or underway.
“These investments will make an important contribution to the local and regional economy,” said Wilks. “They will ensure the reliability of essential infrastructure, which will allow Canadians to experience significant national and cultural heritage first hand, and facilitate the movement of people and goods across our countries.”
The funding breakdown is as follows:
— $77 million for avalanche mitigation work in Glacier National Park. This includes adding two kilometre traffic holding areas in the Beaver Valley and on Beaver Hill, and extending the Rogers Pass holding area, in order to speed up traffic movement following avalanche closures. Work will also be done to rehabilitate static avalanche defense systems like berms and earth moguls; install avalanche warning systems, and repair snow sheds.
— $35.2 million for paving, guardrail replacement, slope stabilization and lighting in all five snow sheds in Glacier National Park.
— $14.3 million to rehabilitate three bridges over the Illecillewaet River in Glacier National Park.
— $12.9 million to pave the Trans-Canada Highway through Mount Revelstoke National Park.
— $8.3 million to replace a sewer line that runs under the Trans-Canada Highway in Rogers Pass.
— $3.4 million to upgrade the Trans-Canada Highway bridge over the Woolsey Creek in Mount Revelstoke National Park.
— $2 million to pave the Meadows in the Sky Parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park.
— $1 million to replace the washrooms at Rogers Pass with a bigger facility.
— $750,000 to renovate the Roger Pass bunkhouse, which serves as living quarters for the military personnel that do avalanche control work in the pass.
— $700,000 to upgrade day use areas along the Trans-Canada Highway.
— $540,000 to improve the trail network in the Illecilleweat area of Glacier National Park.
— $445,000 to rehabilitate the trails at the summit area of Mount Revelstoke National Park.
The funding comes from a $2.8 billion fund for infrastructure improvements in national parks and historic sites announced last November.
Some of the funding is for projects that were started last summer, a Parks Canada spokesperson told the Review. That includes work on one of the Illecillewaet River bridges, work on the Woolsey Creek Bridge (which was just completed), and highway paving, guardrail replacement, and slope stabilization on the highway in both parks.
Notably absent from the announcement was funding to four-lane the highway through the parks. Wilks said he made a $5 billion request to have the work done, but it wasn’t made part of this year’s budget. He said he would continue to advocate for the funding in the future.