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Riding Mountain National Park

Mount Agassiz

What about Mount Agassiz?
© Parks Canada

The Future of Mount Agassiz

Parks Canada is committed to see Mount Agassiz reach its potential as a recreational area. We will be working with others to develop a long-term plan for this attractive site. In the interim, work is underway to make the site safe and accessible for the public.

What is Happening this Winter?

The first step is to remove safety and environmental hazards (e.g., towers, buildings and contamination) so site redevelopment can begin. Many of these hazards were identified through professional advice. Infrastructure such as roadways, parking lots and power- lines will remain intact.

Timelines

  • December 2014 – contract awarded toremove lifts and towers this winter.
  • Winter 2015 – tender posted on buyandsell.gc.ca to remove the Main Lodge building and its foundation, excavate contaminated soil (heating oil under the building), and landscape the area. Note: Some of the contents will be moved and listed on gcsurplus.ca for purchase.
  • Spring – Early Summer 2015 – remaining buildings, some foundations and other infrastructure (e.g., ground pipes) will be removed. Moving towards having the site open for access.
  • Late 2015 – exposed concrete foundations from lifts’ towers removed.

What Happened with the Ski Area Request for Proposal?

A number of steps were taken to seek proposals for a sustainable long-term ski operation. These steps included posting notifications in regional and national newspapers, as well as a North American wide publication for those with interests in ski area management. Only one proposal was received and it did not meet the outlined mandatory requirements.

What is the Long-term Future for Mount Agassiz?

Our focus is to chart a new course for this exciting area of Riding Mountain National Park. This work will help connect Canadians to nature by exploring new and innovative recreational opportunities that engage visitors.

We will continue to work with the community, stakeholders, partners and experts to develop this attractive site. This process will be guided by the outlined goals and actions in the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy.

Questions or Ideas

Roger Schroeder, Extenal Relations Manager, Riding Mountain National Park 204-848-7251 or roger.schroeder@pc.gc.ca

pdf-icon The Future of Mount Agassiz (PDF, 693 KB)


How Did We Get Here?

2007

November: The Park Management Plan is tabled in Parliament. The plan stated: no new leases will be granted for downhill skiing in the Park; rehabilitation plan for the Mount Agassiz ski hill area will be developed and implemented; and involve key stakeholder groups and First Nations in discussions regarding visitor experiences opportunities on the east side of the park and then develop an area plan and implement it as resources are available.

December: Discussions begin with local communities and their leaders and continue to do so till this present time.

Through these discussions Parks Canada: recognizes that there are a range of views and opinion; and is committed to listening, constructively working with, and building long lasting relationships with all of our stakeholders and partners including surrounding communities. Over the last few years there has been significant support – not full support of course – but significant support for reconsidering the operation of a ski hill.

2008

September - April (2009): Field assessments are conducted on the buildings, ski lift equipment, environmental conditions and heritage building status at the Agassiz site.
The Advisory Board visited the site this fall. This winter contaminated soil from a leaking fuel tank was removed. Parks Canada has hosted site visits to increase public understanding of the situation. Reducing public and environmental hazards such as contaminated material is a priority
© Parks Canada

2009

June: Field assessment results are shared at three community meetings indicating buildings are in poor condition, lift equipment is in reasonable condition and workable, heritage values are low, and environmental hazards exist and need to be addressed quickly.
September-November: Site cleanup occurs with collection and disposal of an estimated 20 tonnes of scrap metal, garbage and small derelict buildings.

2010

April/May: Discussions at three Community Conversations Meetings focus on the future of Mount Agassiz.
October: The Advisory Board to help guide the development of the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy (area strategy) is formed. The Board visited the Agassiz site as part of its tour of the entire area eastern area of the park.

McKinnon Creek 2011 is a busy year: major remediation work to McKinnon Creek is completed; the SE Group, who is contracted to develop the Mount Agassiz Feasibility Study, visits the site and meets with stakeholders; and Parks Canada hosts a site open house.
© Parks Canada

2011

January: Parks Canada seeks consulting firm to develop the Mount Agassiz Feasibility Study.

February: The area strategy is formally launched to the public. At that time a website is opened to provide public information including Mount Agassiz. As well, an online survey is offered to gain the public’s initial ideas.

May: Contract awarded to SE Group to carry out the Feasibility Study. The SE Group specializes in the planning and design of ski areas and mountain resorts, and has unprecedented depth and breadth of experience in the ski industry.

June: McKinnon Creek culvert fails at Mount Agassiz. This is mainly due to saturated soil, record precipitation from the previous winter and spring, including major rainstorms in May and June. Culvert is removed and stream restored over the summer.

July: Parks Canada in conjunction with SE Consultants meets with targeted stakeholders and holds three open houses to build awareness of the Mount Agassiz Feasibility Study, and to gather ideas and opinions on the future of the site.

September: Parks Canada hosts a public open house at the Mount Agassiz site to get an update on the site including the McKinnon Creek restoration and the area strategy.

2012
January: Parks Canada initiates public consultation on a proposed amendment to the 2007 Riding Mountain National Park Management Plan. The amendment will allow Parks Canada to consider proposals to potentially reopen Agassiz for a sustainable winter or multi-season operation.

Agassiz © Parks Canada

January – February: Parks Canada hosts a series of meetings to update the public on the proposed park management plan amendment, key finding of the Mount Agassiz Feasibility Study, and the area strategy. The public is also provided with an online survey for the management plan amendment.

June: Parks Canada announced the management plan amendment related to the Mount Agassiz ski area was tabled in Parliament on June 15, 2012. This amendment enables proposals to be considered for the redevelopment of a ski hill operation at the Mount Agassiz ski area, with the possibility of multi-season recreational uses.

The plan amendment was prepared following public consultation, involving the general public, stakeholders and partners. Through this process it was determined there is strong public support for the Management Plan Amendment.

Parks Canada began to develop the process for enabling proposals to be considered for a ski hill operation, including multi-season recreational activities.

2013

On August 29, Parks Canada announced a Request for Proposal has been issued to seek potential submissions as the first step to reopen Mount Agassiz Ski Area in Riding Mountain National Park for a sustainable winter or multi-season operation.

2014

June: Following the successful conclusion of a RFP process, Parks Canada announced it received a proposal to reopen Mount Agassiz Ski Area in Riding Mountain National Park. Parks Canada committed to a timely review of the submitted proposal in accordance with the evaluation process.
 
September: Parks Canada met with stakeholders and partners to inform them the RFP proposal did not meet the mandatory requirements and is therefore unsuccessful.

Parks Canada is continuing to update and meet with stakeholders and partners as we remain committed to see Mount Agassiz reach its potential as a recreational area.

Media enquiries or individuals who have general questions please contact Roger Schroeder, External Relations Manager, Riding Mountain Field Unit at roger.schroeder@pc.gc.ca or (204) 848-7251 
 

Related links: Mount Agassiz Feasibility Study and Management Plan Amendment

Back to Want to know more about The Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy?


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