Provincial parks a disgrace, say NDP
Maintenance a challenge in difficult economic times, says minister
NDP leader Mike Redmond is calling the state of provincial parks on P.E.I. disgraceful.
Redmond said the province has failed in the upkeep of parks across the Island. In particular he points to Kings Castle Provincial Park, near Murray Harbour. He said the seesaws are taped up, paint is cracking on park structures, and children play in a torn up shed.
"I'm very, very concerned that our provincial parks across Prince Edward Island are falling into disrepair and the province is not paying attention and keeping the parks up to standard," said Redmond.
Tourism Minister Rob Henderson said the province is paying attention, and is doing the best it can. There are fiscal realities, said Henderson, and the province's $4.1 million operational budget for parks is not enough to do all he would like.
"We have the unenviable task of trying to manage 10 campgrounds, we have two leased parks, we have 14 day parks, as well as the Mill River Fun Park and the Brookvale ski park," he said.
But despite these challenges, Henderson noted the number of campers is up.
"We're seeing numbers are increasing over last year, and last year we increased over the year before. So I think we're seeing numbers about seven per cent growth in the last two years," he said.
But Redmond warns a lack of proper facilities sends the wrong message to inactive youth.
"We have to agree that a provincial park is there for the enjoyment of Islanders first and foremost," he said.
"It's a health and wellness opportunity and we want to have our society be healthy."
Henderson said the province might explore the idea of opening more wilderness parks where people could get outdoors, but there would be less maintenance required.
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- The province has a $4.1 million budget to operate parks. This story previously described that as a maintenance budget.Sep 20, 2013 9:52 AM AT