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Excavation work near Banff Springs Hotel uncovers explosive device

Banff RCMP say no indication of "malicious intent" – bomb disposal unit from Edmonton expected to arrive on scene around 10 p.m.

BANFF – A construction crew working near the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel got more than it bargained for Tuesday (Dec. 17) when excavation work on a roadway revealed an explosive device hidden in the earth. 

Banff RCMP Staff Sgt. Michael Buxton-Carr said the explosive device was found around 4 p.m. It was dug up in the roadway of Spray Avenue, past the hotel's bus and RV parking area. 

"The construction crew did the right thing, they halted their work and called the first responders, leaving it to the hands of the experts," Buxton-Carr said.

He said RCMP do not suspect the explosive device is result of suspicious activity, as it is an ammonium nitrate device that is consistent with use prior to excavation work.

"There is no indication that anyone had any malicious intent, any intent to cause harm or any intent to damage the hotel," Buxton-Carr said.

An explosives disposal unit from Edmonton is expected to arrive on scene at 10 p.m. 

It is not the first time this year a construction company has unearthed something interesting during work in Banff. 

In February, a bison skull was found by Fortis Alberta on Lynx Street in Banff. Working with the Town of Banff and Parks Canada, the skull was repatriated to the Blackfoot Nation.

It is also the second time an explosive device was found in the national park this year. A Parks Canada employees found a detonated improvised explosive device in a public garbage bin at the Carrot Creek parking lot in February.

At the time of the incident, Banff RCMP officials said they did not know what the intent of the suspect was, as there was nothing to suggest it was a targeted attack against Parks Canada, or to promote a cause.

After the homemade explosive device was found, Buxton-Carr reminded the public to be vigilant and safe if they encounter IEDs.

"I really want to be sure that people who find such devices are aware of potential dangers of unexpected detonation. The best thing they can do is back away a distance, be present to warn other people not to approach and to give us a call immediately," Buxton-Carr said at the time.

Jenna Dulewich

About the Author: Jenna Dulewich

Jenna Dulewich is a national and provincial award-winning multi-media journalist. Joining the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2019, she covers Stoney Nakoda, MD of Bighorn, Canmore and court.
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