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Lake Louise Ski Resort secures temporary housing following fire at staff residence

“Between those two locations, and our existing staff housing in the village of Lake Louise, we have enough to get us through the winter season."

BANFF – After the Charleston staff residence burned to the ground earlier this summer, the Lake Louise Ski Resort has secured temporary staff accommodation ahead of the upcoming ski season.

Ski hill officials say trailer units to house about 140 people have been installed at the base of the resort, noting they are single units with a common room and kitchen facility.

“We have also secured Deer Lodge and its staff accommodations for this winter season,” said Leigha Stankewich, marketing and communications manager for Lake Louise ski resort in an email.

“Between those two locations, and our existing staff housing in the village of Lake Louise, we have enough to get us through the winter season.

“We typically staff around 700 people in the winter season. Not all 700 will live in town, though.”

The Lake Louise Ski Resort’s projected opening date is Friday, Nov. 10.
Following an investigation by the Southern Alberta District General Investigation Section into the July 3 fire, Lake Louise resident Timothy Alexander Peterson, 40, was charged with arson and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Residents had said Peterson had been wielding a knife, trying to stab people.

Stankewich said the ski resort is currently going through the process with Parks Canada to re-build the Charleston residence, which housed about 160 residents.

“At this time, we are still in the debris removal stage, and we hope to complete this before the snow settles,” she said.

“A re-build likely won’t commence until the spring, but we will continue to work closely with Parks Canada regulations on that.”

Parks Canada officials say immediately after the fire, the ski area provided temporary housing for displaced staff in both commercial and private accommodations such as hotels and RVs.

"The Ski Area also started to make plans to provide longer term housing using work camp trailers. Parks Canada worked with the ski area to expedite the appropriate permits," said James Eastham, a spokesperson for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay.

"The Lake Louise Ski Area now has three mobile dormitories located for staff in their parking lot. The ski area has also secured additional staff housing with one of the local hotels."

Including the Charleston Residence site, Eastham said Lake Louise ski resort has three residential lots in the community of Lake Louise on which to construct new, permanent staff housing.

He said Parks Canada will work with the Lake Louise ski area to move the development applications through the review and impact assessment processes from concept to occupancy.

"As with all development in the community of Lake Louise, any new construction will follow the Lake Louise Community Plan (2001) and Implementation Guidelines (2003)," he said.

"The Community Plan and Implementation Guidelines are a tool that Parks Canada uses to ensure that development and decisions taken are consistent with the vision and direction for the community and the broader national park."

In other ski hill developments, Stankewich said work continues on the Upper Juniper Chair, which is expected to open for the 2024-25 season. Foundation work is underway.

“This new lift will begin just below the top of the Lower Juniper Chair, and end near the top of the Top of the World Chair,” she said.

“This chair will enhance accessibility to the upper mountain, but substantially alleviate base area congestion even during peak days.”

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