Sunshine Village Watch has received an email from Field Law in Calgary. The email denies that Sunshine Village conducts parking activities on the access road. The email claims that Sunshine Village is only helping Parks Canada to conduct safe parking on the access road.
Sunshine Village’s position therefore, is that Parks Canada is conducting a parking operation on the Sunshine Village access road and that the operation is Parks Canada’s responsibility and Sunshine Village is only helping. The same email denies responsibility by Sunshine Village for garbage left behind as a result of the parking operations.
Sunshine Village is taking a legal position that Parks Canada, the Government of Canada and the Canadian taxpayers are responsible for all aspects of this parking operation on the Sunshine access road including environmental clean-up and public liability.
Parks Canada has neither confirmed nor denied that it is wholly responsible for the 8km long parking operations on the Sunshine Village access road and that Canadian taxpayers are funding the operation and any environmental or liability burden.
Field Law email:
Name: Field Law
Comment: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
To the administrator(s) of the www.sunshinevillagewatch.com website,
We are solicitors for Sunshine Village Corporation (“Sunshine”), which was very concerned to discover that the administrator(s) of this website, www.sunshinevillagewatch.com, (the “Website”) have been, since at least as early as April 24, 2011 and continuing to date publishing content that defames Sunshine. The content on the Website contains false statements about our client which have and continue to cause its reputation to be lowered in the eyes of the public. Sunshine has, and will continue, to suffer significant damage as a result of the defamatory content published on the Website.
The examples of defamatory content on the Website are too numerous to reproduce in the space provided for our comments. The following is but one example of the defamatory content published on the Website.
On May 21, 2012, the administrator(s) of the Website posted a defamatory article to the Website titled “Sunshine Village Squatters Leave Garbage Mess!”, concerning Sunshine’s parking operations, stating in part the following:
“Will Parks Canada make the Sunshine Village corporate squatters clean up their mess in the Healy Creek Valley of Banff National Park. And will they make them clean up this shameful eyesore BEFORE the summer tourist season? Or is allowing a private corporation to litter a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site part of the new Parks Canada mandate?
Now that the snow has melted in the Healy Creek Valley, the environmental price of Sunshine Village parking expansion is more than evident…
[A photograph of Ralph Scurfield is posted with the following caption posted below the photograph] – ‘Ralph Scurfield – President/CEO Sunshine Village – squatting on public land for profit’
Ralph, John and Sergei Scurfield are the owners of Sunshine Village which has been squatting on public land in Banff National Park all winter. Once again this past winter Sunshine Village has helped itself to public land in a Canadian national park and used it as a parking lot and a dumping ground…”
The information contained in the articles states or implies that Sunshine is encouraging or conducting chaotic, unsafe and environment-harming activity on the access road to the parking lot to its Ski Resort. It states or implies that Sunshine is discarding trash and waste along the access road. These statements, express or implied, are untrue, as Sunshine has not converted the access road into a parking lot and is not parking cars or conducting any activity but rather works with Parks Canada to improve safe parking on the access road. Sunshine does not promote its customers to park on any lands other than those leased by it, however, it does not have the ability or responsibility to control where its customers ultimately decide to park their vehicles. Sunshine is dedicated to environmental stewardship, which includes retrieval of waste. It cannot control or monitor others’ discarding of waste on the access road.
The sunshinevillagewatch.com domain name has been registered through Domains By Proxy, which has afforded anonymity to the owners of the domain, who we expect are the same individuals administering the Website. We demand that the identities of the administrator(s) of the Website be provided to us forthwith, including the names, mailing addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and IP addresses of all administrators of the Website.
We further demand that all defamatory content be immediately removed from the Website and the administrator(s) immediately cease and desist publishing or allowing to be published any content on the Website which defames our client or allowing any such content to be published in the future.
Our client takes any violation of its rights extremely seriously and is dedicated to enforcing such rights and protecting its reputation. We have been instructed to take all available legal action to obtain the identities of the administrator(s) of the Website and the owners of the domain name.
In the circumstances we require a response disclosing the identifying information of the administrator(s), outlined above, as well as confirmation that the defamatory content has been removed from the Website within five (5) days from the date of this email.
Time: Wednesday July 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm IP Address: 188.8.131.52 Contact Form URL: http://sunshinevillagewatch.com/contact-us/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.
PARKING ACTIVITIES (NOT?)
Below are two photos of Sunshine Village employees and a Sunshine Village bus conducting activity and directing Sunshine Village customers to park on “lands other than those leased by it”. These photos were taken almost 8km beyond the lease boundary. The pictures show Sunshine Village staff directing and parking customer vehicles on the access road. The waiting Sunshine Village bus then transports the customers to the ski area which is kilometers away. The email denies that Sunshine Village does this.
Below is a video of a Sunshine Village truck and driver conducting dumping activity by Sunshine Village on “lands other than those leased by it”. The email denies that Sunshine Village does this.
Below is a video documenting the remnants of a large avalanche which swept across the access road in very close vicinity to parking related signs placed by Sunshine Village. The signs are numbered in sequence along the full length of the access road and coincide with Sunshine Village bus pick-up and drop-off locations.
Following the avalanche documented in the above video, Parks Canada retroactively placed “no parking” signs in the same area as the numbered signs placed by Sunshine Village. The Parks Canada signs indicate the reason for “no parking” to be the avalanche hazard. The photographs below document the placement of the Parks Canada signs and the Sunshine Village signs.
Although the email states Sunshine Village is “not parking cars or conducting any activity” and “does not promote its customers to park on any lands other than those leased by it”, that position appears to be clearly contradicted by Sunshine Village spokesperson Crosbie Cotton who, according to the Rocky Mountain Outlook, stated the following in March 2012 regarding access road parking . Cotton clearly states that Sunshine Village is providing parking services and managing the operation.
[Cotton] said Sunshine works hard to give people safe parking, provides a shuttle service, trained parking attendants, improved signage and does not allow parking in avalanche zones.
“A few times a year, during peak seasons like the Family Day weekend, Christmas and Easter, there’s parking on the road and we’re trying to manage the best of a bad situation,” he said.
In the same article, then Banff National Park Superintendent Pam Veinotte confirmed that Sunshine Village uses the road to park vehicles, again contradicting the position stated in the email.
“We certainly recognize the parking challenges that do occur at Sunshine, but we have to remember it really is tied to peak days, which are really about 10 times a year,” said Veinotte.
“The use of the roadway is a short-term measure and we recognize the short-term situation isn’t ideal, but it’s during the development of the site guideless and long-range plans that we’ll get to the long-term solution.”
WAWA RIDGE FACILITY
Sunshine Village has a radio repeater facility located on Wawa Ridge well outside the lease area boundary. This facility is serviced by Sunshine Village staff and contractors using snowmobile and helicopter access. The email did not state if this facility was also for the purposes of helping Parks Canada.
Sunshine Village Lease (PDF)