Save the Waterton playground and spray park and build the new Visitor Centre out of town.
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We oppose the proposed location of the new Visitor Centre in Waterton Lakes National Park on Windflower Avenue (Block 39). We call for Parks Canada to leave the existing playground, spray park, basketball court, tennis courts and play field in their current location and to build the new Visitor Centre outside of the townsite off the main road into town. Building the new Visitor Centre in the middle of the townsite will increase congestion, traffic, parking and safety issues.
Despite overwhelming opposition from the general public, Parks Canada intends to continue with plans to build a 10 000 square foot visitor centre (along with new office space for the superintendent and members of his support staff as well as a 70 stall parking lot) on Block 39, one of the last remaining green spaces within the Waterton Lakes National Park townsite.
This continues to be in contravention of the most recent Management Plan, which directs for a visitor centre site near the Compound, next to the highway on the way into town. The Community Plan also specifies that the green space in question is zoned as Recreational Reserve, with the restriction that it be preserved as “open space.” Constructing any building other than a restroom in this area is prohibited, as it is to be preserved for outdoor recreation activities, such as the current playground and spray park.
Parks Canada has recently established a website entitled “Let’s Talk - Waterton Visitor Centre”, with the stated purpose of asking Canadians for their ideas about the building design.
Parks Canada may be surprised to see that the posts on their website have been overwhelmingly against their chosen location in the middle of the townsite. Unfortunately it appears, as usual, that Parks Canada is doing all of the talking and none of the listening.
One of their proposals, Option #3, even goes so far as to demolish the existing playground and spray park, in order to make room for this massive building. At a “Public Consultation” meeting held June 18, 2016 to discuss the Visitor Centre issue, Superintendent Ifan Thomas stated multiple times, "We're not touching the spray park or the playground" (video available on Save The Waterton Field Facebook page). After making this public declaration, why is Parks Canada now pushing just such a proposal, to remove the playground and spray park as part of their “Option 3”? The new playground, spray park and basketball court were a community fundraised initiative, not Parks Canada.
The new Visitor Centre needs to be in the only logical location, next to the highway just outside of the townsite, not stuffed into a spot that is too small in the middle of town, where it would dramatically increase the already problematic parking and congestion issues. To find out more about these issues, visit:
2. Save the Waterton Field Facebook page.
If you agree that the townsite location is completely wrong and that Superintendent Thomas does not represent the views of the Canadian Public, please sign this petition and do the following two things:
1. E-mail Parks Canada CEO Daniel Watson and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna telling them how you feel (Daniel.Watson@pc.gc.ca and firstname.lastname@example.org)
2. Advise Parks Canada on their website (letstalkwatertonvisitorcentre.ca) to leave the spray park and the playground alone and build the Visitor Centre outside the townsite.
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