Table of contents

1.0 Introduction

This document sets out the Draft Terms of Reference for the completion of a Detailed Impact Assessment of the proposed Long Range Plan prepared by the Sunshine Village Ski Area. The Terms of Reference describe the scope for the Detailed Impact Assessment, including the identification of valued components and expectations for Indigenous, stakeholder and public engagement. In 2018 Parks Canada approved the Sunshine Village Ski Resort Site Guidelines for Development and Use (the “Site Guidelines”). The Site Guidelines set out permanent growth limits for the Sunshine Village Ski Area, identify substantial environmental gains, and provide a blueprint for future ski area development that will enhance visitor experience and support a sustainable national park ski area operation. The Site Guidelines were developed by Parks Canada with input from Sunshine Village Ski Area, and are consistent with Parks Canada’s Ski Area Management Guidelines (2006) that provide ministerial direction for long−term planning and management of all national park ski areas. A Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Site Guidelines has been prepared to address potential environmental implications and public concerns. The focus of this assessment was on the identification of potential cumulative effects of the activities listed in the Site Guidelines at regional and local scales.

The Site Guidelines provide a long-term vision for the ski area and outline conceptual improvements, but they do not include project-specific details, or approval for individual developments. The vision described in the Site Guidelines is realized through the development and implementation of one or more Long Range Plans. These plans describe the specific projects and developments that are proposed to be implemented by the ski area over a given timeframe. The content of the Long Range Plan must be consistent with the approved Site Guidelines. The Sunshine Village Ski Area is currently preparing their first Long Range Plan following the approval of the 2018 Site Guidelines.

The Long Range Plan will be subject to an impact assessment in accordance with the Impact Assessment Act 2019 and the Parks Canada Directive on Impact Assessment 2019 (the “IA Directive”). Parks Canada has determined that the appropriate level of assessment for the Long Range Plan is a Detailed Impact Assessment. The IA Directiveidentifies a Detailed Impact Assessment as the most appropriate pathway for “complex projects that may require in-depth analysis of project interactions with valued components; may affect a particularly sensitive environmental setting or threaten a particularly sensitive valued component”. Further, the IA Directive identifies that Detailed Impact Assessments are most appropriate for “types of projects that may lead to high levels of interest from Indigenous groups, public and stakeholders in relation to the potential for adverse environmental effects”. The Detailed Impact Assessment will address the potential project-level effects on identified valued components related to the specific land use and development proposals contained within the first Long Range Plan. A Detailed Impact Assessment is the most comprehensive level of impact assessment in the Parks Canada framework and requires Indigenous, stakeholder, and public engagement.

The Draft Long Range Plan being prepared by the Sunshine Village Ski Area includes a range of projects and improvements reflecting the vision and objectives contained in the Site Guidelines. The scope of the first Long Range Plan proposed for the next five years includes:

  • An overall increase to the design capacity from 6500 to 8500;
  • Ski lifts – Goat’s Eye II (new) and addition of chairs and parking rail to Teepee Town;
  • Commercial Space – a new day lodge at the top of the Wolverine lift in the Goat’s Eye Area Concept, plus approval to make permanent, the existing installation of the temporary kitchen(s), dining space, restaurant and washroom facilities currently located in the Village, Base and Goats’ Eye Areas that were installed to address the impacts of the ongoing global pandemic; and
  • Summer Use – operating under annual approval from Parks Canada, consistent with the Site Guidelines until a new plan is approved. Any new summer use plan proposed outside of this or any future Long Range Plan, will be subject to detailed impact assessment including public and Indigenous engagement.

The Detailed Impact Assessment will investigate impacts of both the construction and long-term operation of the proposed new infrastructure, including anticipated changes in use. The Detailed Impact Assessment must also consider cumulative effects from the projects proposed under the Long Range Plan, as well as any projects that are, or may be, advanced outside of a Long Range Plan under the Site Guidelines. For a more detailed description of the proposed projects in the Long Range Plan, see the Summary of the Sunshine Village Ski Area Proposed Long Range Plan, 2021 (Appendix 1).


2.0 Detailed impact assessment roles and responsibilities

The Ski Area Management Guidelines (2006) stress the importance of a collaborative approach to ski area planning and management in Banff National Park. Parks Canada must ensure that the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity shall be the first priority. Parks Canada also strives to provide outstanding visitor experiences that support sustainable ski area operations. Parks Canada and the Sunshine Village Ski Area both have distinct roles and responsibilities as it relates to ski area planning and management in Banff National Park, which includes the below specified roles and responsibilities as part of the Long Rang Plan Detailed Impact Assessment process.

2.1 Parks Canada

  • Prepares Site Guidelines with input from the ski area; Site Guidelines are approved by the PCEO of Parks Canada (Sunshine Village Site Guidelines were approved in 2018);
  • Provides advice and guidance to the ski area on the development of the Long Range Plan, with an emphasis on ensuring consistency with the Site Guidelines, federal legislation and Parks Canada Policy;
  • Prepares and provides a Terms of Reference for the preparation of the Detailed Impact Assessment;
  • Conducts engagement on the Terms of Reference for the Detailed Impact Assessment;
  • Works collaboratively with the ski area on public and Indigenous engagement on the draft Long Range Plan and leads engagement on the draft Detailed Impact Assessment, to ensure that the federal government’s accountabilities are met;
  • Analyzes all input received on the draft Detailed Impact Assessment, and provides guidance to the ski area on any deficiencies or issues that need to be addressed;
  • Makes a determination of significance of environmental effects and the potential impacts on the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity on the final Detailed Impact Assessment;
  • Makes a recommendation to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Minister Responsible for Parks Canada Agency) on the final Long Range Plan.

2.2 Sunshine Village Ski Area

  • Prepares Long Range Plan, with input from Parks Canada;
  • Conducts a Detailed Impact Assessment on the Long Range Plan on the basis of the Terms of Reference issued by Parks Canada;
  • Works collaboratively with Parks Canada on Indigenous, stakeholder, and public engagement on the Long Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment;
  • Analyses and summarizes all input received on the Long Range Plan, and submits a report documenting the process and results to Parks Canada for review.
  • Revises the Long Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment to reflect outcome of engagement process, with advice and guidance from Parks Canada;
  • Submits final Long Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment to Parks Canada for consideration.

3.0 Indigenous, stakeholder and public engagement requirements

3.1 Indigenous engagement

Parks Canada is seeking to advance reconciliation and develop a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. As part of this effort, the Crown, represented by Parks Canada in this case, has a legal duty to consult with Indigenous peoples, and where appropriate, make accommodations when the Crown contemplates conduct that might adversely impact potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. Parks Canada will fulfil this duty by engaging Indigenous people early on in the Sunshine Village long range planning process, beginning with this Terms of Reference. Parks Canada will seek to understand how Indigenous people wish to be involved in the process, and then work with interested groups accordingly throughout the process to ensure that their interests are addressed.

3.2 Stakeholder and public engagement

Parks Canada’s Ski Area Management and Planning Process also provides numerous opportunities for stakeholder and public engagement, which began with the Site Guidelines, approved in 2018, and will extend through the Long Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment process. Sections 3.2.1 and 3.2.2 provide a brief outline of the planned engagement program for the Long Range Plan and supporting Detailed Impact Assessment.

3.2.1 Detailed impact assessment terms of reference

Parks Canada will make available for comment these Terms of Reference for a period of 30 days. This will allow interested parties and individuals to gain an understanding of what is being proposed and how it will be assessed, and to provide input on the scope and process for the Detailed Impact Assessment.

Please refer to the Guide for respondents at the end of this document for instructions on providing comments.

3.2.2 Long range plan and detailed impact assessment

Parks Canada will conduct stakeholder and public engagement on the Detailed Impact Assessment in collaboration with the ski area engagement process of the Long Range Plan itself. This will provide an opportunity for interested participants to gain a better understanding of the specific project components that are being proposed, the analysis of any potential effects on the park’s ecological integrity and visitor experience, proposed mitigation strategies presented in the impact assessment, and any cumulative effects resulting from the projects proposed in the Long Range Plan. The Detailed Impact Assessment engagement process will be integrated with the Long Range Plan engagement process, and will last for 60 days.

The Sunshine Village Ski Area is responsible for conducting the engagement program on the Long Range Plan, however, since it is closely linked to the Detailed Impact Assessment engagement process, which is the responsibility of Parks Canada, the two processes will be coordinated concurrently. This will provide an opportunity for participants to examine all of the proposed components of the Long Range Plan, and to provide feedback on the proposals within.

The engagement program will provide a variety of avenues for interested individuals or groups to be engaged. These may include, but will not necessarily be limited to, virtual sessions by request and online engagement tools.

3.2.3 Proposed engagement timeline

  • The recommendation that a Detailed Impact Assessment will be undertaken, along with the supporting draft Long Range Plan summary will be posted for public comment on the Canadian Impact Assessment Public Registry for 30 days.
  • The draft Terms of Reference will be posted publicly for 30 days on Parks Canada’s Website and circulated to Indigenous groups and key stakeholders.
  • The Terms of Reference will then be finalized and posted on Parks Canada’s Website.
  • A 60-day consultation period on the draft Detailed Impact Assessment and draft Long Range Plan will occur concurrently.
  • Parks Canada will prepare a summary of comment on the Detailed Impact Assessment, while the Sunshine Village Ski Area will respond to comments on the Long−Range Plan.
  • A revised Long Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment will be submitted to Parks Canada for approval.

3.2.4 Public response

All comments related to these Terms of Reference, and the Detailed Impact Assessment, will be analyzed by Parks Canada and, in each case, a summary will be compiled to advise the ski area regarding required revisions. The Sunshine Village Ski Area will analyze the input received on the Long Range Plan, and will provide a summary to Parks Canada for review prior to finalizing the plan. These summaries will inform an overall ‘what we heard’ report that will be available publicly.


4.0 Detailed impact assessment composition and scope requirements

Each of the following sections outlines the expected content and level of detail that should be included in the Detailed Impact Assessment.

Parks Canada welcomes input on this draft Terms of Reference, and requests that responders use the guide found at the end of this document to organize their response.

4.1 Planning and regulatory context

4.1.1 Federal Legislation and Parks Canada Policy

  • Canada National Parks Act, and other applicable federal legislation (e.g., Fisheries Act, Species at Risk Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, etc.)
  • Impact Assessment Act (IAA) and Parks Canada IA Directive
    • Outline the requirements of IAA 2019 and the Parks Canada Directive on Impact Assessment 2019
    • Outline the roles and responsibilities for the completion of the Detailed Impact Assessment including the Terms of Reference, Draft and Final Detailed Impact Assessment documents, Public Participation and Detailed Impact Assessment Determination − outlining responsibilities of the Ski Area and Parks Canada (see section 2 of this Terms of Reference).

4.1.2 Ski area planning process

  • Describe the main elements and decision points of the ski area planning process in Parks Canada including legislation, Ski Area Management Guidelines, Site Guidelines, Long Range Plans and Project Permitting.
    • Sunshine Village Site Guidelines:
      • Describe the approach and key elements of the Sunshine Village Ski Area Site Guidelines at a high level.
    • Strategic Environmental Assessment:
      • Describe the main ecological management parameters and mitigations associated with the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Site Guidelines with a focus on the valued components identified in the Strategic Environmental Assessment and the integration/linkages between the Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Long Range Plan Detailed Impact Assessment.
    • Long Range Plan Overview:
      • Provide an executive style overview of the key strategies, developments, activities and operations associated with the Long Range Plan
      • Include the rationale for the plan overall, how it contributes to, and aligns with the direction of the Site Guidelines, and to the Ecological Management Parameters, Desired Outcomes and Key Objectives outlined in the Site Guidelines.

4.2 Detailed impact assessment indigenous, stakeholder and public engagement results

The Detailed Impact Assessment will:

  • Contain a summary description of the public and Indigenous engagement programs for both the draft Long Range Plan and the draft Detailed Impact Assessment (the full engagement plans may be attached as appendices), including the location, type and duration of the activities, and the level of participation.
  • Provide a summary of the input received through the Indigenous engagement process, including, in consultation with Parks Canada, the identification of:
    • any adverse impact that the project may have on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada that are recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982; and
    • any traditional knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada provided with respect to the plan.
  • Provide a summary of the input received through the public and stakeholder engagement process, including the identification of:
    • Any scientific information; and
    • Adverse impacts or any cross boundary implications (i.e., BC Parks) that may have been overlooked.
  • Describe how findings of the engagement were applied to the final Detailed Impact Assessment, such as the incorporation of traditional knowledge, including what alternatives may have been considered as a result of this shared knowledge.

4.3 Long range plan and detailed impact assessment project description

Overall the project description, included as a basis for the Detailed Impact Assessment, will summarize all plan and project information that is documented in greater detail in the Long Range Plan itself. The spatial and temporal scope of the Long Range Plan will be included, and the individual components proposed to be implemented as part of the Long Range Plan, will be clearly described. Also included, will be any ongoing or future plans for development and improvements not captured in the draft Long Range Plan (e.g. projects advanced outside of a Long Range Plan under the Site Guidelines).

Key Plans and Strategies
  • The project description section will include a summary of all management strategies required by the Site Guidelines.
  • Particular focus will be put on describing how key elements of the different strategies contribute to meeting the parameters and conditions of the Site Guidelines and Strategic Environmental Assessment.
  • Individual projects, activities or other initiatives that result from, or are necessary to implement, the various strategies will be identified with clear links to the appropriate strategy, including projects advancing outside of this Long Range Plan.
Key Development and Use Proposals
  • All key development and use proposals will be described in sufficient detail to allow for environmental impact assessment that includes the scope of project development, project implementation, and the on-going operation of the project.
  • All key on-the-ground project development activities necessary as part of the project planning and preparation phases for individual proposals will be identified and described.
  • All key project implementation elements and phases, including site preparation, construction and installation, site management, landscaping and reclamation, and long-term operation will be identified and described in detail sufficient for a pre-construction or project development planning phase to meet the intent of the Terms of Reference for the Detailed Impact Assessment.
  • All key activities necessary to the on-going operation and maintenance of individual project proposals through the project lifecycle will be identified and described.
Project Lifecycle, Decommissioning or Abandonment
  • It is assumed that most constructed projects will be essentially permanent in nature and that at the end of their useful life will be replaced. Potential issues related to the future replacement of facilities will be addressed at the time of replacement and will not be unnecessarily considered within the scope of the project.
  • Certain facilities or developments may be constructed or installed on a temporary basis, or with a designed lifespan in mind. For these facilities, decommissioning and abandonment will be considered as part of the scope of the project.
Alternatives
  • Within the scope and parameters of the Site Guidelines, the project description will include a statement that explains the “need for” or “purpose of” (i.e., project justification) as an important first step in the consideration of alternatives.
  • Within the scope and parameters of the Site Guidelines, the project description will include the consideration of potential alternatives means of the proposed course of action or development.
    • Alternatives means of a project proposal are those which present different types of approaches to achieving the same project goals or objectives within the parameters and conditions considered in the Site Guidelines. For example, a key direction of the Site Guidelines is to reduce the reliance on direct, on-demand water withdrawal from surface water sources and ensure reliable and sustainable water supply through the use of multiple sources. The first Long Range Plan proposal may be to develop off-stream water reservoirs to collect surface runoff which can be charged during high stream flows. Reasonable and viable alternatives to this approach could include charging reservoirs from ground water sources.
  • The identification of alternatives to a proposed project should focus on the legitimate examination as to whether or not there are reasonable, practical and viable alternatives that should be considered and assessed in conjunction with the primary proposal through the rest of the Detailed Impact Assessment. If so, these alternatives will be carried forward and assessed in conjunction with the primary proposal with the intent of arriving at a clearly rationalized preferred alternative.
Appropriate Level of Project Detail
  • Accordingly, project level detail will be most appropriately focused on the essential elements of final project design and long-term visitor activity and operations that may be anticipated to result in long term impacts to the valued components of the Strategic Environmental Assessment.
  • Project detail related to project development or construction activities should include as appropriate, the identification of best management practices and standard mitigations that will be applied to address the well-known broad areas of impact associated with project development, construction, and ongoing operation and maintenance.
  • Best management practices, standard operating procedures and environmental management plans will need to be developed in the Detailed Impact Assessment and an outline of the contents of these tools included. This approach will ensure that specific tools are included and the details of those tools will be developed during and after permitting.

4.4 Description of existing conditions

Presentation of this information in the Detailed Impact Assessment needs to capture all key factors of the current ski area and the existing natural environment in a concise format, with the main focus of the Detailed Impact Assessment being on the Valued Components and their interaction with the components presented in the Long Range Plan (Section 4.5.6 Valued Components).

The Detailed Impact Assessment will use existing information to clearly focus in on established strategic and cumulative environmental interactions with ski area development and operations. This can be gathered from past impact assessments, Parks Canada research, consultant research, and monitoring.

The most recent scientific research and information will be used and cited for this purpose. See further description in Section 4.5 Approach and Methods.

4.4.1 Sunshine Village Ski Area – Infrastructure and operations

Provide information on the current built Sunshine Village Ski Area environment. This section should include a site history and summary of all exiting ski area infrastructure and operating facilities.

4.4.2 Existing natural environment

Landscape Level Overview
The ski area will be described in terms of its context in the broader Mountain Parks landscape − where landscape is defined as a mosaic where a mix of local ecosystems and land uses is repeated in similar form over a kilometers wide area (Foreman 1995). The landscape overview will include the consideration of broad patterns of habitat use and movement for wide ranging wildlife species.
Local Ecosystems:
The ski area will be described in terms of its context related to local ecosystems − where a local ecosystem is defined as a spatial element within a landscape relatively homogeneous and distinct in boundary (Foreman 1995). With respect to the ski area, the area within and around the resort functions as important habitat for a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic species including grizzly bear, black bear, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, wolves, cougars, wolverine, lynx, mountain goat, limber pine and several federally-listed species at risk such as westslope cutthroat trout. Additionally, the park’s most extensive alpine meadows extend from the Sunshine Village Ski Resort northwards to Healy and Harvey passes, and are contiguous with alpine meadows in British Columbia’s Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park. This area is of high ecological importance to the park and region. It includes significant stands of the whitebark pine, a Species at Risk, 69 known rare plant species, and important movement routes for wildlife. The meadows were a significant factor in the nomination of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Most areas adjacent to the ski resort leasehold are legislated as Wilderness by Parks Canada, and consequently no activities or development may be permitted in these places that are likely to impair, directly or indirectly, their wilderness character.
Biophysical and Land Use Mosaic:
The ski area will be described in terms of the existing biophysical and land use mosaic (Foreman 1995) − where the mosaic includes a combination of distinct natural patches, corridors and networks overlaid with past and existing land use and development within or immediately adjacent to the ski area. Within the ski area, natural mosaic patches may be identified primarily through biophysical land classification using the Ecological Land Classification of Banff and Jasper National Parks (Holland, t. D. and G.D. Coen, (Eds), 1982. Ecological (Biophysical) Inventory of Banff and Jasper National Parks, Pub. SS−82−44, AB Inst. of Pedology, Edmonton, AB) and other information available as appropriate such as peer reviewed material. Wildlife corridors, watercourses and aquatic networks cross the biophysical mosaic, and important habitat for rare or endangered species may be found within or across patches and networks. Land use and development will be overlaid upon the natural land mosaic to provide a picture of where and how ski area development and operation alters and affects the natural biophysical mosaic within the ski area. This approach should be taken at both local and landscape levels.
Site Scale Description
where major construction or development is proposed, the Description of Environment should include a site scale description of the area and natural features that are likely to be impacted by the specific project proposal based on the ecological land classification (ELC), local site information where available, and previous studies (e.g., environmental assessments, SEA).

4.5 Approach and methods

4.5.1 Adopting a scientific approach

  • The Detailed Impact Assessment will be conducted on a foundation of existing science-based information (i.e., best science) and Indigenous knowledge, to the degree that such information is available, relevant to the ski area situation, and up-to-date. The most recent scientific information will be used and the confidence level of this data should be indicated in the Detailed Impact Assessment. Existing information will be backed up through field work, research, predictive modelling or other objective analysis to fill important information gaps related to key ecological components and interactions. Important research and information requirements related to Valued Components are identified in the Strategic Environmental Assessment and should be addressed, as applicable.
  • The standard of proof needs to be defined and justification will be provided. The standard of proof is a set threshold of scientific evidence that must be met in order to determine if the project-valued components interaction will satisfy the desired outcome. The necessary standard of proof will be directly proportional to the potential risk associated with the project-valued components interaction, with the potential for a higher-risk outcome necessitating a higher standard of proof. The most recent scientific information will be used.

4.5.2 Spatial and temporal scope

The spatial scope of assessment will be determined with respect to overall ecosystem function specific to a Valued Component, the associated ecological interactions, and the likely extent of impacts associated with the development, use and operations described in the Long Range Plan. Spatial components for consideration are discussed above in Section 4.4 Description of Existing Conditions. The temporal scope of assessment will align with the life cycle of any proposed development projects and business operations.

4.5.3 Assessment methods

The Detailed Impact Assessment will identify the approach, metrics and rationale to be used to measure, characterize and discuss the effects of the proposed Long Range Plan activities on key environmental, cultural resources and other identified valued components. This will also include the methods and rationale used to evaluate and determine the significance of residual project effects and cumulative effects. The approach can utilize general impact assessment approaches and measures, but should also take into account the need to adopt the highest-level scientific approach and any Indigenous knowledge provided. This could include for example, but should not necessarily be limited to, any pertinent factors related to park management goals and objectives for natural and cultural resources, the Site Guideline ecological management parameters, species at risk ecological parameters, and factors related to conditions associated with the Sunshine Meadows’ World Heritage Site Designation.

4.5.4 Climate change

The Detailed Impact Assessment will identify the likely impacts/changes to the area that can be expected as a result of climate change and how these likely changes will interact with the predicted effects of the Long Range Plan. In particular, any predicted changes to use levels, and/or the aquatic, vegetation and wildlife complexes in the area. This should include but is not limited to seasonality, snow accumulation, snow melt, rainfall and water use.

4.5.5 Project-environmental interactions

Operational strategies and programs, development and use as described in the Long Range Plan, and any viable and reasonable alternatives to the primary proposals will be methodically assessed in the Detailed Impact Assessment in terms of potential environmental interactions. The environment, at a minimum, includes consideration of the Valued Components identified in this Terms of Reference at the landscape, and local ecosystem mosaic scales. Site scale interactions associated with specific projects/activities will be identified to provide a basis for the assessment of the predicted environmental effects after application of best management practices or other mitigations at the appropriate scale.

4.5.6 Valued components

The Detailed Impact Assessment will include, but does not necessarily have to be limited to, assessment of the following Valued Components, which have been derived from the Site Guidelines. The Detailed Impact Assessment will present the final list of Valued Components considered for assessment, including rational for inclusion and/or exclusion of any Valued Component from further analysis.

Wildlife

The Detailed Impact Assessment will address all relevant wildlife species and habitat, including any species at risk and critical habitat listed under the Species at Risk Act. Carnivores, mountain goat, bighorn sheep and other ungulates will be included. Small mammals, including bats and birds, as well as specific assessment of grizzly bear and grizzle bear habitat security will also be included.

Wildlife corridors, connectivity and habitat is to be examined at a regional scale. Where possible, use data from and/or contribute to assessment of background control conditions of parallel wildlife habitat and corridor effectiveness in areas with similar habitat characteristics. A discussion of wary carnivore movement (e.g., bears, wolves, cougars, wolverine) in Upper Healy (Bourgeau) and Eagle Slopes Wildlife Corridors must be provided at a minimum. Additionally, alpine ungulate (e.g., sheep and goat) movement corridors, habitat and connectivity and effectiveness is to be examined. Identification and conservation assessment of sheep and goat lambing and nursery area is to be included.

Vegetation
The Detailed Impact Assessment will address the potential loss of/or damage to vegetation, change in species diversity and representation, community composition and structure, introduction of non-native vegetation species, and possible effects on endangered or rare plants species and communities, including species at risk and critical habitat protected under the Species at Risk Act, such as Whitebark Pine. The Detailed Impact Assessment must demonstrate consideration for Whitebark Pine critical habitat, including recovery habitat, as defined in the Recovery Strategy for the species, which must be identified, mapped and appropriately integrated into the proposed mitigations. Where possible, the Detailed Impact Assessment should identify rare plant species and communities, and quantify the numbers and area affected by the Long Range Plan components. A discussion of forest composition, structure and fire disturbance regime is also to be included in the Detailed Impact Assessment analysis.
Soils and terrain
The Detailed Impact Assessment will describe and evaluate physical changes to landforms-soil-vegetation complexes that support rare plants and sensitive alpine vegetation communities and location terrain features, including potential for trail erosion, soil compaction, trail expansion through braiding, widening, etc., as well as disturbance from any additional development. Where possible, quantify areas of disturbance and/or volumes of disturbed soils. The Detailed Impact Assessment will also describe the potential for future introduction of surface or subsurface pollutants or contaminants, and previously unidentified historical contamination where possible.
Aquatic/hydrologic ecosystems
The Detailed Impact Assessment will identify and evaluate potential impacts to aquatic resources and hydrological resources, including species and critical habitat protected under the Species at Risk Act, such as Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout. Impacts to surface and subsurface flow regimes, riparian habitat, water quantity and quality, including chemical, physical and biological parameters must be identified and evaluated.
Cultural resources
The Detailed Impact Assessment will cite the known cultural resource sites in the area (a historic cabin near the confluence of Healy and Sunshine Creeks, a 1920’s horse camp reputedly used for the storage of teepee poles, an old dump site at the base of Tin Can Alley ski run, and Sunshine Camp), and is to include an update of known and potential cultural resources within the study area using the support of Parks Canada Cultural Resource Management specialists and local Indigenous groups.
Visitor experience
The Detailed Impact Assessment will address the aspect and context that forms the visitor experience at the ski hill including: visitor education, compatibility of proposed land uses with the environment, sense of place, and area wilderness designation under the National Parks Declared Wilderness Regulations, public safety, potential changes to public access of surrounding areas, and perspectives of visitors from outside and at the ski area.
World Heritage Site Outstanding Universal Value

The Detailed Impact Assessment will address how the Outstanding Universal Value of the site, as identified by the World Heritage Center, will interact with the Long Range Plan project components including the following elements:

  • The natural beauty associated with:
    • Mountain peaks
    • Icefields and Glaciers
    • Alpine Meadows
    • Lakes
    • Waterfalls
    • Karst Cave Systems
    • Deeply incised canyons
  • The ability of the above to attract and be enjoyed by millions of visitors annually
Regional infrastructure capacity
The Detailed Impact Assessment will address road and transportation system capacity (including parking capacity), water supply and demand, downstream water quality, electrical supply and demand, and staff accommodation capacity.

4.6 Impact analysis

The analysis of impacts is the core of a Detailed Impact Assessment. Analysis and documentation in this section should be focused on Project-Valued Components interactions. The amount of information and analysis should be adapted to each Valued Component based on the level of risk and its importance. Any difference in analysis between Valued Components or categories of Valued Components such as high risk versus low risk should be made clear. Documentation of the impact analysis should clearly illustrate:

  • Analysis on how the projects proposed in the Long Range Plan will affect or change a Valued Component, and by how much;
  • Analysis of cumulative effects specific to the Valued Component;
  • Predictions on how the impacts can be most effectively mitigated;
  • What the residual impacts are likely to be; and
  • How residual impacts compare to desired outcomes and threshold measures for the Valued Component.

The Detailed Impact Assessment will focus the majority of its effort and analysis on Project-Valued Component interactions with a higher potential for significant adverse effects. When the required standard of proof presumption is high or moderate, evidence of the rigour applied in the assembly and evaluation of evidence is to be documented, and inferences, information gaps, and uncertainties acknowledged. These will inform recommendations towards follow-up requirements ( Section 4.7 Follow-up Monitoring).

The first part of the analysis in the Detailed Impact Assessment will result in the assignment of mitigations intended to avoid or lessen adverse effects. The later analysis in the Detailed Impact Assessment will take into consideration any residual and cumulative effects that are likely to occur after mitigation has been applied. This analysis will inform the conclusions of the Detailed Impact Assessment with respect to the significance of adverse effects and subsequent recommendations.

Any Indigenous knowledge provided/available should be included alongside Western Science in the assessment process.

Further details on what will be included in the Detail Impact Assessment analysis section is provided in the following sections.

4.6.1 Effects analysis

The effects analysis will be assessed with a focus on key ecological interactions with the project components being proposed in the Long Range Plan, and how those interactions individually and cumulatively affect the associated valued components.

The Detailed Impact Assessment will provide best science and evidence-based information to predict whether or not the Ecological Management Parameters of the Site Guidelines and Strategic Environmental Assessment are likely to be attained.

The Detailed Impact Assessment will identify if the projects being proposed in the Long Range Plan have the potential to adversely affect the Valued Components, and to what level.

For each Valued Component, metrics are presented in Section 4.5 Approach and Methods, that will allow for quantification and/or qualitative assessment of project impacts on the Valued Components.

The effects assessment on the Outstanding Universal Value of the Heritage Site will be considered throughout the analysis of all the Valued Components as a whole, as each feed into the official site Designation. Included will be to the degree to which any negative impacts are at the scale of that whole element for the World Heritage Site.

The results of this initial analysis will feed into the assignment of evidence-based mitigations intended to avoid or lessen the anticipated adverse environmental effects.

4.6.2 Indirect effects

The Detailed Impact Assessment will consider whether the effects from the proposed projects in the Long Range Plan, on the Valued Components may, in turn, cause adverse effects to:

  • Indigenous peoples (e.g., Indigenous peoples’ physical and cultural heritage, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes and any structure, site or this that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance);
  • Health, social and economic conditions of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples; and
  • Characteristics of the environmental important to key visitor experience objectives.

If no indirect effects are anticipated under any of the above, provide justification/support for that conclusion.

4.6.3 Design, mitigation and environmental management

The focus of the Detailed Impact Assessment is to be on the Valued Components that may be most affected by the projects being proposed in the Long Range Plan. Mitigations to reduce the level of effect on those Valued Components identified will be derived through evidence-based decision-making, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous engagement and consultation, and public engagement.

The Detailed Impact Assessment will include evidence-based mitigation measures that are realistically achieved on the ground and technically feasible. These will be developed to avoid or lessen the anticipated adverse environmental effects identified in the initial effects analysis. Any environmental effects that cannot be mitigated through the implementation of these measures, or through changes in project design, will be considered residual effects and will be further assessed in Section 4.6.4 Significance of Residual Effects.

For each proposed Long Range Plan development or improvement, and for each Valued Component/Valued Component metric, describe pertinent design, Best Management Practices and mitigations that will be put in place to address current conditions and effects and that could help reduce or mange Long Range Plan proposed project-level effects.

Mitigation through design
  • The primary means to mitigate potential impacts is to avoid impacts through design. The Detailed Impact Assessment will clearly demonstrate how potential impacts will be avoided or mitigated through project and operational design, location, timing, use and management parameters, or other means.
  • Describe where initial project concepts have been adjusted, adapted or abandoned during the impact assessment process, reflecting the influence of the impact assessment process on project design.
Routine mitigations
To the degree appropriate and applicable, Project-Valued Component interactions with well-understood and predictable effects can be addressed through the application of existing mitigations such as those found in the Ski Area Best Management Practices (BMPs), Parks Canada Preapproved Routine Impact Assessments (PRIAs), standard mitigations or other best practices.
Unique mitigations
As the focus of the Detailed Impact Assessment is on the Valued Components that may be most affected by the implementation of the projects proposed in the Long Range Plan, unique mitigations will be developed, were applicable, and will be derived through evidence-based decision making, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous engagement and consultation, and public engagement. These mitigations will clearly demonstrate how the desired outcomes for the Valued Components will be achieved.
Post-detailed impact assessment mitigation
The Detailed Impact Assessment will acknowledge any lacking information/details regarding the implementation of the proposed projects in the Long Range Plan and will acknowledge any site- and project-specific mitigation measures that will need to be developed post-Detailed Impact Assessment. This post-detailed impact assessment mitigation may include amendments or addendums to Detailed Impact Assessment, or may be acceptable to be included as part of the required Environmental Protection Plans (EPPs) for each project proposed in the Long Range Plan. These recommendations will come from Parks Canada as part of the final permitting process for each project proposal as it comes forth.

4.6.4 Significance of residual adverse effects

An assessment of the significance of any residual adverse effects will primarily consider any adverse effects remaining after mitigation measures have been applied ( 4.6.3. Design, Mitigation and Environmental Management) and should be assessed as they relate to key ecological interactions and the subsequent implications to associated valued components (including any residual impacts to species at risk and Indigenous rights as established by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982).

For each Valued Component, and for each Project and Project Pathway, identify any measurable project residual effects that are anticipated. Where such are identified, bring forth into a discussion of potential project-related changes to future cumulative effects on the Valued Component metric (i.e., existing Valued Component metric level + measurable residual project effect on the Valued Component metric = discussion of future cumulative effects).

The criteria used to evaluate the significance of residual adverse effects of a Project-Valued Component interaction must relate explicitly to the types of evidence, desired outcomes and thresholds used in the initial effects analysis.

To determine the significance of any residual adverse effects, the following factors could be used to describe them and assess significance:

  • Scale (local, regional, national), and magnitude, location/extent (where the effect occurs, number or volume of effect);
  • Duration (short or long, intermittent or continuous), reversibility (extent of recovery, time required) and frequency of residual effect;
  • Ecological context (% of population affected, importance of population, # of generations to recovery, species sensitivity, effect on key life stage/cycle) and/or cultural context of potential effects;
  • Likelihood of occurrence (Level of risk, uncertainty, confidence in prediction): and
  • Whether the outcomes of the projects associated with the Long Range Plan are likely to exceed thresholds established under the Strategic Environmental Assessment.

4.6.5 Cumulative regional effects

The Detailed Impact Assessment will include the assessment of cumulative effects of the proposed projects in the Long Range Plan on the ecological integrity, commemorative integrity and ecological sustainability of the resources administered by Parks Canada.

For each Valued Component, present and discuss existing metric conditions at relevant spatial scales, which are essentially statements on existing cumulative effects at those spatial scales.

Include in this analysis, cumulative effects of both existing and future potential effects that apply to the Long Range Plan proposed developments and improvements. As mentioned earlier in the Project Description section ( Section 4.3 Long Range Plan and Detailed Impact Assessment Project Description) there are additional projects or proposal outside of the official Long Range Plan that are anticipated to occur in the near future or long term. Where applicable, and for each Valued Component, additional consideration and discussion of potential additional cumulative effects concerns shall be included as a broader, forward looking consideration, beyond the scope of the Long Range Plan process for broader Park Management interests. The Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Site Guidelines includes the establishment of performance parameters and conditions that address potential adverse cumulative effects. These parameters provide qualitative and quantitative management targets relatable to the Detailed Impact Assessment desired outcomes used as a basis for project-level assessment.

The cumulative effects analysis will demonstrate the proposals ability to stay within the parameters and conditions identified in the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Site Guidelines. Impacts arising from the projects being proposed in the Long Range Plan that exceed these parameters will be considered residual cumulative effects.

Residual adverse cumulative effects and mitigations should be identified with respect to each valued component and the implications for achieving the ecological management parameters for that component.

Any residual effects identified in the earlier analysis will be included in this cumulative effects assessment. Where residual impacts to a Valued Component are identified, the cumulative effects assessment will:

  • Identify desired outcomes for the site (derived from the Park Management Plan/Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Site Guidelines/Strategic Environmental Assessment);
  • Identify all parameters and conditions that serve the management objectives for this site; and
  • Assess the residual impacts of the projects proposed in the Long Range Plan against the relevant management parameters and thresholds to determine the positive or negative cumulative effects of the projects in the Long Range Plan and make any necessary mitigation recommendations.

4.7 Follow up and monitoring

The Detailed Impact Assessment will clearly identify any key information gaps or potential significant uncertainties associated with the conclusions on residual impacts. The analysis done with residual and cumulative effects in mind, will explicitly acknowledge these uncertainties. Information gaps or deficiencies identified will be clearly related to, and considered necessary for, moving ahead with a project proposal in the future.

The timing, scope and objectives of any follow-up or monitoring program will be identified.

The Detailed Impact Assessment will describe how individual projects will be monitored for mitigation effectiveness and residual effects to better inform future projects in the Long Range Plan. Information gathered during the monitoring process will inform future development, including the possibility that some proposed projects may no longer be feasible.

Detailed methodologies are not required. These methodologies will be required as part of the project-specific approvals when the individual projects are proposed for execution.

4.8 Summary and conclusions

The Detailed Impact Assessment will include a Summary and Conclusions section where comments and recommendations regarding residual effects are such that Parks Canada can make a determination of significance that is objective and evidence-based.


Guide for respondents

Please submit feedback on this draft Terms of Reference to opinion@canada.ca.

Your feedback will be reviewed by Parks Canada specialists in consideration of revisions to this draft Terms of Reference and by the ski area operator for their consideration with respect to their draft Long Range Plan and preparing the Detailed Impact Assessment using this Terms of Reference.

Should you have further questions please email opinion@canada.ca and a Parks Canada team member will respond accordingly.


Appendix 1

Summary of the 2021 Sunshine Village Ski Area Proposed Long Range Plan