Nfld. & Labrador

Parks Canada cuts for Newfoundland outlined in memo

An internal Parks Canada memo obtained by CBC News is revealing some details of how recently-announced cuts will impact services in Newfoundland.
Tourists come to Signal Hill, a national historic site, for commanding views of St. John's and the Atlantic Ocean. (CBC )

An internal Parks Canada memo obtained by CBC News is revealing some details of how recently-announced cuts will impact services in Newfoundland.

"Parks Canada is focusing investments on the periods of highest requirements," wrote Bill Brake, superintendent for the Newfoundland East Field Unit of Parks Canada.

"This will result in changes to the operating season of some parks and sites." 

It will also mean changes to the workforce in areas like visitor services, resource conservation, and asset management.

Some of the changes include:

  • The operating seasons at Bonavista’s Ryan Premises and Placentia’s Castle Hill national historic sites will be shortened by approximately four weeks. They will also move to "self-guided" services, instead of staffed services.
  • The Cape Spear lighthouse and Signal Hill national historic sites in the St. John’s region will be open five days a week during the spring and fall shoulder seasons.
  • The "winter visitor offer" at Terra Nova National Park will be discontinued.  This includes winter camping, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and kitchen shelters.
  • Hours of operation at the Terra Nova National Park visitor centre will be reduced during the spring and fall shoulder seasons.
  • There will be a reduction in the level of service at Newman Sound campground in the spring and fall shoulder seasons.

The memo notes that none of the changes will impact opening dates for the upcoming season.

Parks Canada has issued 1,689 notices to employees across the country in the wake of this year’s federal budget.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, 79 positions are affected, with 24 being eliminated altogether.

The Union of National Employees has said the remaining 55 will either be dropped to part-time status, or are already part-time employees whose seasons will be cut.

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