The province remains committed to facilitating an agreement between Canadian Pacific (CP), the community of Golden and local rafting companies that would allow visitors to enjoy the 2016 rafting season, say two key BC ministers.
“From the moment we heard that the Golden rafting season might be put in jeopardy, we engaged the federal government, the mayor, local tourism operators and CP to work together to find a solution,” Shirley Bond and Todd Stone, ministers of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Transportation and Infrastructure respectively, said in the statement released on Tuesday, May 17. ”We’re continuing to work closely with all parties to reach a final agreement that will save the 2016 rafting season for the people of Golden.”
On April 22, 2016, the parties reached an agreement in principle that would have allowed rafters to safely cross the rail track with CP-designated flagging contractors who were paid for by the rafting companies. The rafting companies had also agreed to assume liability at the tracks and provide waivers to all of their customers.
Last week, Canadian Pacific presented an agreement, which would transfer all of the risk at the tracks to the Province and to B.C. taxpayers. The Province is considering taking on some of the risk in order to save the 2016 rafting season. In return, B.C. has asked that Canadian Pacific enter into a formal mediation process to work out a long-term and sustainable solution,
a process B.C. first proposed in April. As part of this, the Province will work with local stakeholders to explore infrastructure funding options to find a long-term solution.
“We know how important the summer rafting season is to the community of Golden,” Stone said. “Time is of the essence. We are doing everything we can to work out a solution, while retaining safe access to the tracks. We remain hopeful that the parties can come together to save the 2016 rafting season.”
- Approximately 40,000 visitors raft the Kicking Horse River annually.
- Approximately 15,000 of those visitors raft the lower canyon. Tourism Golden’s visitor survey reports that of those surveyed, 10% cited rafting as an activity they participated in while visiting Golden.
- The Kicking Horse River is designated as a Canadian Heritage River.