November 15, 2017

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, today issued the following statement on the Waterton Lakes National Park visitor centre:

"Parks Canada manages our national heritage places on behalf of all Canadians and for all Canadians. More than 500,000 visitors each year enjoy Waterton Lakes National Park. Parks Canada has a responsibility to ensure it is effectively serving the needs of these visitors.

Over the past several years, Parks Canada has been assessing the most appropriate location for a new Waterton Lakes visitor centre.  In March 2016, Parks Canada announced that it had selected a location within the Waterton townsite at Block 39 as the site that would best serve the needs of visitors to the Park and would have the least environmental impact.

At my request, my Parliamentary Secretary, Jonathan Wilkinson, travelled to Waterton on August 31, 2017, to meet with community organizations regarding Parks Canada’s decision. I would like to thank everyone involved in these meetings for their time and effort, and for generously sharing their perspectives on this national park that so many Canadians treasure.

After hearing from community groups at these meetings and after the Parliamentary Secretary and I subsequently considered the views of stakeholders and reviewed how Parks Canada came to its decision, I have concluded that the selection by Parks Canada of the Block 39 townsite location was the appropriate decision. A new visitor centre in the Waterton townsite will meet the present and future needs of Waterton Lakes National Park and is in the best interest of the Park, its environment, visitors, and all Canadians.

Parks Canada will continue to work closely with all partners and stakeholders as the new visitor centre project moves forward."