Brewster will be "fantastic” for Jasper: Levasseur
The former owner of Maligne Tours says he had two other offers on the table but chose to sell to Brewster Travel Canada because of their track record in tourism. In a phone interview, Gerry Levasseur told The Jasper Local that although he had the opportunity to sell to an Edmonton buyer or a company based in Germany, he thought Brewster would be the best fit for Jasper.
“They’re in the business of tourism,” Levasseur said. “This will bring Jasper more into what Banff and Lake Louise [are like]. I think that’ll be great for Jasper.”
Levasseur said with Brewster having more invested in Jasper, the community and park will see more visitors.
“I think Brewster is going to be fantastic for Jasper.”
On December 12 Levasseur told The Jasper Local that a deal was in the works, but not finalized. The sale of Maligne Tours went through on January 4. Levasseur didn’t reveal what the deal was worth.
“I was happy with the price I got and I’m sure Brewster was happy to buy it at that price,” he said. Levasseur said not long after his proposal to build a 62-room hotel on the site of the current day lodge was turned down by Parks Canada he started making moves to sell Maligne Tours.
“When I didn’t get the expansion I figured it was time for me to get the hell outta there,” he said.
Levasseur, 83, said he wanted to do something new at Maligne Tours. “The minute you stand still you’re going backwards,” he said. “I kept saying we have to do something at Maligne Lake to keep it progressive. We’d been doing the same thing for 40 years.”
Parks Canada turned down the hotel idea but said they’d consider tent cabins. Because that would mean changing the management plan, EcoJustice promptly launched a lawsuit, charging that the superintendent broke the law when he considered an amendment. The suit is pending.
Levasseur, for his part, was upset but not surprised when Parks Canada rejected the hotel proposal. He suggested Jasper National Park operates under a different set of rules than Banff and Lake Louise.
“I think Parks Canada administration doesn’t understand the business community of Jasper,” he said. “You can do things in Banff you can’t even dream of doing in Jasper.”
When asked if he thought Brewster would be able to build a better relationship with Parks Canada, he suggested they would. “I think so,” he said. Levasseur made it clear he doesn’t want Jasper to be as busy or developed as Banff, “but there’s a happy medium there somewhere.” He said he wanted to express his thanks to Jasper for all the support since he purchased Maligne Tours in 1980, and added that without the business community, Jasper wouldn’t be what it is today.
“If it wasn’t for the business community Jasper wouldn’t be there,” he said.