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Parks sea can camp to return in 2018

Craig Gilbert |

Those pesky Parks Canada cans will return to the lot opposite Old Fort Point Road and Highway 93A this summer.

Jasper National Park superintendent Alan Fehr said on Tuesday the temporary housing camp, which in 2017 provided lodging for 36 Parks Canada employees, would return for the 2018 season.

That work will include the last bridge replacement planned for JNP at Meadow Creek and the repaving of 50 kilometres of the Icefields Parkway and 20 km of Highway 93A.

Speaking at a Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce breakfast, he told about 80 guests including Mayor Richard Ireland and other members of council that the camp would take pressure off the town’s wider housing stock.

The camp raised the ire of business owners in 2017 who have been struggling with the town site’s housing crunch for years. Fehr said the additional workers on road, bridge and other infrastructure work plus the increased visitation last summer, pegged at about 2.4 million people for the year, made the impromptu community necessary.

He said two new five-plexes on Patricia Street aren’t going up as quickly as Parks hoped, and the continuing road and bridge work in the park means more people will be staying in town to work again this summer, so they decided to make use of the area again in 2018.

Chamber general manager Pattie Pavlov said Parks gave the Chamber and the municipality the heads-up last week.

“We appreciate fact that they’re in process of building more permanent long term residences,” she told the Fitzhugh Tuesday afternoon. “They’ve assured us this is the last time, they honestly didn’t think they would need to do that this year so they got rid of them, but they had to bring them back. They seem to be moving quicker now. They’re looking at RFPs now to get some development going on that GB block on Connaught south of the Petro Canada.”

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