Calgary's bid to host to the 20126 Olympic Winter Games is getting a bit of a cold shoulder from Kootenay Columbia Member of Parliament Wayne Stetski.
The NDP MP voiced his displeasure in the House recently that any plans for the Games should not include Lake Louise in the mix.
“Last March, I asked whether the government would reject the Calgary Olympic Bid Committee’s request to allow Olympic games at Lake Louise, which could cause irreparable harm to Banff National Park,” Stetski said to the Environment Minister.
“We now learn from the media that a formal approach was made to Parks Canada staff and that, and I quote, “the federal agency did not shut down those talks.” Will the government stop this plan before it goes any further?”
In a media release, Stetski’s question followed an October report in the Rocky Mountain Outlook, which said Parks Canada Agency is discussing Lake Louise with the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment denied that any talks were happening and said that any decision would be made, “in the context of existing policy and legislation”.
The release said using Lake Louise’ facilities for the games would likely increase the developed footprint within Banff National Park, thereby harming its ecological integrity.
“The Parliamentary Secretary said that the government is fully committed to protecting the ecological integrity of Canada’s national parks and we intend to hold them to that statement,” Stetski said.
“Banff is Canada’s oldest national park, and one of our most cherished places,” Stetski said. “It is essential that we maintain its natural and wild spaces, as the park’s creators intended when it was established in 1885.”
“It’s always easy to find reasons why we should allow development in our parks,” Stetski said. “But that’s exactly why parks exist – to preserve these revered places and protect them for future generations.”
Calgary City Council recently voted 9-4 to keep the city's Olympic ambitions alive.
During a meeting in November, Council approved spending an additional $1 million in order to further fund a bid exploration for the 2026 winter games, with an additional $1 million to be released if the provincial and federal governments get on board.