Province repeals decision on park closures
Ivanhoe Lake, Rene Brunelle provincial parks to remain operational
A community lobby group that worked to keep provincial parks open across the region says it's happy the government has announced it's willing to keep two parks that were slated to close in the northeast open.
But a spokesperson with one of the chosen parks — which include Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park near Foleyet and Rene Brunelle Park near Moonbeam — says details still need to be worked out.
Malcom MacDonald, who is with the group Friends of Ivanhoe Provincial Park, said he's glad there's an option for Ivanhoe Park.
The parks will be kept open, pending changes that will include allowing more seasonal campers, raising fees and having a community group in place to guarantee any operating losses, according to the province.
"Most of them … should be reasonably easy to achieve," MacDonald said.
"We'll have to do some work on and look closely at the terms that were put in front of us and see where we go next and how soon we can get there."
Lobbying will continue
Al Spacek, the president of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, said he's pleased with the government's decision. But he added lobbying may help save at least two more parks — Fushimi near Hearst and Greenwater near Cochrane.
Hearst resident Helene Cote said, although she's concerned Fushimi was not included with the pilot project, she's still optimistic and will continue to be involved with rallies and petitions to save Fushimi Park.
"It allows those two parks to prove their worth and to perhaps brainstorm to have creative ideas and that these ideas might help other parks as well," she said.
The province had announced it was planning to change the status of eight parks in the region to non-operational.