Provincial park users demand return of overnight camping
Protestors say Rene Brunelle Provincial Park breaking even and province is wrong to cutback services
A public meeting will be held in Timmins Wednesday night to gather public feedback on changes to some provincial parks.
Recently, the government announced it will change the status of 10 provincial parks to non-operational — a decision that affects eight parks in northeastern Ontario. The status change means there will be no overnight camping available at the parks.
The president of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities said he's received a lot of calls since the government's decision was made.
"The response from the public has been overwhelming," Al Spacek said.
"This is a decision that has made them reach their breaking point. They are frustrated and they are upset. I've heard many times that [the province has] taken the ONTC from us, now they're taking our camping. They're not going to take it anymore."
Meanwhile, a group of people have blocked the entrance to Rene Brunelle Provincial Park north of the town Moonbeam in protest of the changes.
About a half-dozen people stayed overnight at the park entrance and employees were blocked from work at the park on Tuesday.
Moonbeam town councillor Gilbert Peters said in the last few years, after the paper industry collapsed, the area turned to tourism for revenue.
"We have five campgrounds in our area and they are all full to capacity," he said.
"If we let them close Rene Brunelle Provincial Park, it’s just going to create a big problem for lack of camping spaces for the young people that love to camp."
Peters said, despite government claims that it's losing money on parks, Rene Brunelle Provincial Park is breaking even.