Parks Canada has closed the access to its parking lot on the south side of Highway 93 to access the hot springs pools due to a recent engineering survey that revealed structural damage to the existing pedestrian access ramp.
The engineer said that thats in way worse condition than we believed it was and we recommend that you close it immediately, Julian England chief operating officer for the Canadian Rockies Hot Springs. Its at risk of catastrophic failure. They said if there were a large load on it, it is in danger if failing with that load on it.
Mr. England said that the engineers did not report how close the ramp was to failure if access were to continue to be permitted using it, but noted that it was an immediate concern.
For people looking to continue accessing the pools, they are able to do so through using the parking lot located on the north side of Highway 93. However, at this time there is only stair access to the pools themselves.
If someone is trying to access the pools with a wheelchair or stroller or is unable to use the stairs, unfortunately we do not have a good solution for them at this time, he said.
Fortunately Parks Canada received a mitigation strategy from the engineers working on the area and are currently in discussion with them to determine possible ways for completing construction on the existing problems.
Obviously its my desire to get it open as quickly as possible but we have the challenges of, we are currently in winter and it makes construction challenging, Mr. England said.
England mentioned that this will be one of many improvements made to the area as visitors may have noticed several areas blocked off from public access currently. For example he cited the Caf Restaurant, which is expected to reopen later this year, along with a refurbishment of the roof deck that has been leaking into the building throughout the past few months.
Mr. England wanted to remind people that the hot pools will continue to be open throughout the construction phase but had no definitive timeline for when the south ramp and parking lot would be reopened again due to the restrictions on construction working in the cold weather.
As soon as we have a plan well communicate that through parks Canada website, social media channels and the Radium Chamber of Commerce, he said.