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Jasper superintendent resigns, takes new assignment with Parks

Greg Fenton became superintendent of Jasper National Park in 2007. He will leave his position Sept. 7 to become a special advisor on development regulations with Parks Canada.  Fitzhugh file photo

Greg Fenton became superintendent of Jasper National Park in 2007. He will leave his position Sept. 7 to become a special advisor on development regulations with Parks Canada. Fitzhugh file photo

Greg Fenton, field unit superintendent for Jasper National Park, will be leaving his position Sept. 7.

He has accepted an assignment as special advisor on development regulations with Parks Canada.

“After 35 years with Parks Canada, Mr. Fenton is looking forward to this assignment prior to retiring from Parks Canada and the federal public service,” wrote Kavitha Palanisamy, a public relations and communications officer with Parks, in an email.

The Fitzhugh‘s request for an interview with Fenton was denied.

Born and raised in Jasper, Fenton and his wife Libby Weir have no intention of leaving the park and will continue to make Jasper their home, according to Palanisamy.

Replacing Fenton is Alan Fehr, who will officially take over Nov. 1. Fehr was the acting field unit superintendent for Jasper from November 2014 to March 2015 while Fenton took a leave of absence.

Fenton first joined Parks Canada in 1980 and worked as a seasonal labourer with the grounds crew in Jasper National Park while attending university.

Since then he’s held several different positions with the agency across Canada and returned to Jasper in October 2007 after taking over from Ron Hooper, Jasper’s former field unit superintendent.

Over the past eight years Fenton has had to grapple with massive budget cuts and job losses and was involved in several controversial decisions, including the approval of the Glacier Skywalk in February 2012.

Despite strong opposition from the community and environmental groups at the time, Fenton stood firmly by his decision.

In 2014, he found himself in the centre of more controversy when he rejected a proposal to build a 66-room hotel at Maligne Lake, but accepted a smaller proposal to build 15 tent cabins.

As a result, Ecojustice filed a court challenge to quash his decision. The court challenge was filed on behalf of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and the Jasper Environmental Association (JEA).

The federal court in Edmonton will hear Ecojustice’s legal challenge Oct. 27 and 28.

Beyond the controversies, Fenton was applauded for his work in rebuilding relations with aboriginal groups who were displaced when Jasper National Park was first established.

During his tenure, he oversaw the establishment of the Aboriginal Cultural Area, located near the Sixth Bridge, and was a strong supporter of the Jasper Aboriginal Forum.

Paul Clarke
reporter@fitzhugh.ca

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