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Decision on proposed Glacier Discovery Walk in Jasper National Park delayed

Renderings of the Glacier Discovery Walk.

Brewster Travel Canada/Brewster Travel Canada

Parks Canada has delayed making a decision on a controversial multi-million dollar tourist attraction proposed for Jasper National Park in order to digest the flood of public comments it has received.

The Rocky Mountain park's superintendent, Greg Fenton, was originally set to announce on Tuesday whether Glacier Discovery Walk, an interpretative trail with a suspended glass walkway, would be given the green light, turned down or sent back to the proponent for more information.

Brewster Travel Canada, which is based in Banff, Alta. and has U.S. ownership, is spearheading the concept, which if approved would be built along the Icefields Parkway, near the Athabasca Glacier and could attract close to 263,000 visitors a year.

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But the company has run into significant opposition from local environmentalists, who have lobbied against the development and almost 180,000 people have signed an online petition posted by global activist group, Avaaz.org, which expresses concern about privatization in the national parks. Parks said it has received 2,200 formal submissions from the public.

"There was a large amount of comments and we're just taking the time we need to comprehensively review it," said Parks Canada spokeswoman Alisson Ogle.

The 169-page environmental assessment is also being reviewed, she said.

A decision should be made by mid-February, according to Parks.

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Dawn Walton

Dawn Walton has been based in Calgary for The Globe and Mail since 2000. Before leaving Toronto to head West, she won a National Newspaper Award and was twice nominated for the Michener Award for her work with the Report on Business. More

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