The Ontario government is launching a pilot project to keep three provincial parks open in northeastern Ontario — but if it fails, municipalities will have to pick up the tab.
The province recently announced it will partner with municipalities to keep Fushimi, Rene Brunelle and Ivanhoe parks open, with the goal of increasing revenue and visitation rates.
Under the new agreement, the city of Timmins will be responsible if Ivanhoe Park loses money.
For Mayor Tom Laughren, the risk is worth taking to keep the parks open.
"At the end of the day, we also have to be very conscious of it from a financial perspective," he said.
The city hasn't put any money aside in case the park loses money, however.
"We've never got close to that discussion as it relates to finances," Laughren said.
will really take place after that seasonal draw is finalized."
Working group in place
Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle said a working group is in place to minimize the possibility of municipalities being saddled with the debt if the venture fails.
"Our goal will be to come as close as we can to see that there are no financial losses," he said.
"And that's why the working group is going to be so important."
While it’s clear who is left to carry the burden of debt, it is less clear where the money will go if the parks happen to make money.
Starting today, people can start signing up for seasonal campsites at the three parks.