Car-free Banff? Company pitches ambitious gondola, parking project

The owners of Banff Train Station and Mount Norquay ski resort want to build a new gondola and massive parking lot in Banff to help ease traffic congestion.

The company, Liricon Capital says a 2500-stall parking lot and a gondola from the town of Banff to Mount Norquay ski resort will benefit visitors to the park and create an “eco-transit hub.”

“I think the most important thing to realize is there is massive support for what we’re doing,” said Jan Waterous, who owns Liricon Capital with her husband, Adam Waterous.

In a news release, Waterous said her family was concerned about the impact of vehicle congestion, and that their vision is to eventually create a car-free Banff.

“We kept wondering what ‘they’ were going to do about it. We came to the realization that we should stop complaining and join the ‘they’ to try to solve this park-wide problem,” she said.

According to the Liricon Capital’s poll, 87 per cent of residents think vehicle congestion is a problem in Banff. 

“Surveys show strong public support for new intercept parking and proposed aerial transit to Mount Norquay and Calgary Airport to Banff passenger rail service to improve walkability, alleviate traffic congestion in the Town of Banff and enhance the Cascade Wildlife Corridor,” said Waterous.

But conservationist Harvey Locke disagrees that the majority of people would support the massive project and said the questions in the survey were leading.

“This is an effort to dress up some multi-layered scheme with a Heritage Park-type village, and some discussion of a car-free Banff, and a giant new parking lot, and a gondola for private gain and calling it some kind of a gain.”

Currently, Liricon Capital says there’s no timeline for the project.

In a statement, Parks Canada said the proposal is under review.