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Jasper Chamber people’s choice from ‘across the river’

by Evan Matthews | reporter@fitzhugh.ca

The people have spoken, and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) is the people’s choice.

One of the largest entities in Jasper’s business community took home the People’s Choice Award at the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce representatives and business awards gala last month.

A popularity contest in the most traditional sense, Chamber members were given a ballot at the beginning of the night to cast a deciding vote.

“Our goal since I’ve been here — in working with our executive team, leadership and colleagues — we’ve decided we’re on a mission to be part of the community… To increase tourism to Jasper, not just JPL… and to increase our sustainability focus, which includes community relations and focusing on the priorities of the national park,” says general manager Ken Hall, adding JPL has 76 sustainability initiatives the staff is working on.

For instance, Hall says one initiative involves using eco-friendly products, referring to all of the sheets and products used throughout the hotel such as shampoo, soap, and even food. Twin Meadows is the organic farm JPL uses for much of its food, and the farm is located near McBride, B.C.

A major part of community relations in forging partnerships, according to Hall, which is also one of the best ways to generate more tourism for the region.

Working with other players in the Jasper business community has become a common theme and JPL is no different. JPL works with other local entities such as the planetarium, Marmot Basin and the Jasper SkyTram, the hotels and restaurants, rafting guides, etc. to boost tourism, and Hall says it’s working.

“People appreciate that we’re a big part of the town from a business perspective… and the Chamber has done such a great job with getting all the community working together… We all win,” says Hall. “Everyone is able to succeed when we all work together, and we’ve partnered with everybody… I think that’s why people voted for us, because we’re on the right track.”

The hotel also works closely with Jasper Victims’ Services and Friends of Jasper, two organizations JPL says it will largely focus its efforts on in 2018. JPL also supports Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital, as the children of two JPL employees have accessed services there, making it a cause near and dear to the JPL family.

“It’s a pretty great link for us,” says Hall. “They take care of us, and we do our best to take care of them.”

JPL also works with and supports Ronald McDonald House Foundation.

The lodge employs 500 to 700 people at any given time of the year, according to Hall.

Hall says JPL has over 100 children who call the grounds home, all of which shop in grocery stores and retail outlets, go to the restaurants, and work at the restaurants.

“Historically, there have been some people who think we aren’t as much a part of the community. We’re across the river,” says Hall. “But we really are a part of it, and we are very focused on it.”

Currently, JPL is working to upgrade many of its cabins to put them on par with the most elite in the country. The JPL golf course is ranked second in the country, according to scoregolf.com, ranking only behind Cabot Cliffs golf course in Inverness, Nova Scotia.

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