Parks Canada chooses design for new Waterton Lakes visitor centre

By Lara Fominoff @LaraFominoff on Twitter
January 13, 2018 - 2:43pm

WATERTON LAKES NP - The new visitor centre in the centre of  Waterton's Townsite will consist of three craftsman-style, flat roofed, wood and stone buildings. One will be an interpretive centre, the second, an administrative area, and the third - public washrooms.

It will also feature a town plaza that will connect to the commercial district, a "natural materials" playground for children and large overhangs to provide shelter and relaxation areas for visitors.

Parks Canada released their choice January 12th indicating that it was also the most popular design featured at their previous open houses.

There will also be year-round programming at the interpretive centre, including displays of Blackfoot history, traditions, culture and contributions to the park itself.

There has been some very vocal opposition to the new location, but Parks Canada says the former visitor centre that burned down in the Kenow Fire, was not able to accommodate the more than 500,000 visitors it received each year.

But Waterton Lakes Leaseholders Association President Leslie Little has said in the past, that the townsite is already overwhelmed on many weekends during the summertime, and putting the new centre in the middle of the town doesn't make sense.

"Especially after the fire, when 30 per cent of the park is burned, [it's] one of the last green spaces they're willing to dig up now to put a building on it. I don't understand that."

Design details and environmental assessment will be finalized this winter. Sometime this Fall, Parks Canada will work with Public Service and Procurement Canada on tendering the construction contract.

Actual construction of the new centre isn't expected to begin until sometime in 2019. 

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