View topic - Alta Gov't Closing/Partially Closing 20 PP's + selling 164

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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 8:01 am 
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From the Huffington Post

Alberta’s wide open spaces are going to get a lot less open.

Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government announced Tuesday that they would be closing or partially closing 20 provincial park spaces, and selling off 164 others to be managed by third-party private companies.

The changes affect more than a third of the 473 provincial parks, wildland provincial parks, provincial recreation areas, ecological reserves, wilderness areas, natural areas and heritage ranchlands currently managed by the provincial government.

The closures will represent $5 million in savings for the government, according to the 2020 budget.

“Alberta’s taxpayers pay over $86 million a year to be able to run our campgrounds of which we receive around $36 million in revenue,” Environment Minister Jason Nixon told reporters Tuesday. “The retail side loses a tremendous amount of money.”

Of the 20 full and partial closures, the public will be barred from accessing 11 of them, while nine will be accessible but no longer serviced by trial clearing or garbage collection. Camping service fees at existing sites are also expected to go up. Cross-country ski trails in several parks will no longer be groomed or maintained.

The announcement struck a nerve with Albertans, who took to Twitter to share their dismay at the closures and sales of the parks. (see first link for tweets)

The provincial parks system covers nearly 2.8 million hectares of land in Alberta. The closures impact around 16,000 hectares of that space.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/a ... id=U452DHP

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ ... -1.5484095


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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 9:13 am 
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So basically about 20 years behind similar changes in Ontario.

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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 11:05 am 
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That’s TERRIBLE.
PUBLIC LAND should stay PUBLIC.
Even if it was left as open Crown Land would be better.
We are seeing a lot of Crown Land turned into Municipal Parks in Southern Ontario which is a lot better than Private Parks or developments.
Start a Protest Poll and hope for the best.
Good Luck.


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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 11:33 am 
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Location: Northern Alberta
Yup!
In a lot of ways Jason Kenney is emulating all the "progressive" things that Mike Harris did. Extremely short sighted but what do you expect from a government that is willing to waste millions attacking anyone who questions the future of the Oil and Gas industry.

There has been concern raised since the UCP election and the killing of the Big Horn Park Plan. The Alberta Wilderness Association is a good source of local information:

https://albertawilderness.ca/news-relea ... ks-system/

Bruce


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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 1:02 pm 
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Similar also to what BC did 20 years ago - ended interpretation services, cut loads of staff, and brought in private operators. In some ways it was and is an embarrassment, but I haven't seen any evaluations of the current levels of service or condition of the lands.

It went through some bad growing pains initially - having private companies interacting with park visitors wasn't the same as the public service brand of BC Parks. And some places certainly had shortened seasons etc. But the optimist in me chooses to believe that bad operators didn't get their contracts renewed and that the private operators now may be offering comparable services to what BC Parks used to do.

In this Alberta story, I question whether "selling off" is accurate language? I expect the lands will remain Crown lands, but the operation of campgrounds etc. will be turned over to private contractors, with the terms & conditions of those contracts/services still overseen by the provincial government.

The part that made me most mad is that some xc ski trails won't be groomed any more. There's new snow in Winnipeg and it makes me feel like skiing!

Pat.

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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 1:31 pm 
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Quote:
“Alberta’s taxpayers pay over $86 million a year to be able to run our campgrounds of which we receive around $36 million in revenue,” Environment Minister Jason Nixon told reporters Tuesday. “The retail side loses a tremendous amount of money.”


These sorts of quotes bug me, economics is such a shell game. I wonder how they calculate what are the costs and what are the revenues? I've seen studies that show protected areas generate more economic benefits than they cost, but it's never transparent how these things are calculated - it would be nice to have a standardized approach so that such statements from different times and places could be apples-to-apples.

If the above numbers are true, that helps identify the change for the public - if campground operations really lose that much money, there will clearly be a big change in services, because private operators obviously won't run their businesses at a loss, so less services, less staff, less maintenance, shorter seasons.

I'm guessing their calculation of benefits doesn't consider the spin-off revenues at surrounding gas stations, hotels, restaurants, etc.

Pat.

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Last edited by yarnellboat on March 5th, 2020, 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 1:32 pm 
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Tourism is bad for the economy


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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 1:33 pm 
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Pat! Put nowshoes on the kids and meet me at Shoe Lake on the weekend! Looking for a lost portage into the Black (before Pallister sells Nopiming)


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PostPosted: March 5th, 2020, 10:22 pm 
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When the Ontario MNR decided 35 years ago to stop grooming ski trails in the Thunder Bay area, a dedicated group of volunteers stepped forward and created a non-profit organization called Thunder Bay Nordic Trails. The organization has taken the work of trail grooming and promotion of cross-country skiing well beyond what the OMNR would ever have done. We groom trails at the Kamview Nordic Centre on 500 acres purchased from the province as well in Kakabeka Falls and Sleeping Giant provincial parks. It’s a model that could work elsewhere.


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PostPosted: March 6th, 2020, 8:51 am 
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Don't know what the previous comment on tourism being bad for the economy was about... on a global basis, tourism and travel now bring in more money than the natural resources related industries, with the exception of oil and gas.

Forestry, mining, fisheries combined... tourism and travel beat those out when it comes to economic benefits, governments should recognize this bigger-picture trend.

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PostPosted: March 6th, 2020, 9:41 am 
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I took Neil's comment as tongue in cheek. Tourism is a big bread winner.


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PostPosted: March 6th, 2020, 11:34 am 
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Definitely tounge in cheek. The data is there to show how much tourism benefits Alberta but I see two problems: 1) the bill for one of the biggest Alberta tourist draws is paid by the Parks Canada, 2) Alberta government doesn't seem to be too interested in data.

Reminds me of an agriculture researcher telling me (no I did not verify) that the Economist published an article saying the for every $1 a government puts into agriculture research it puts $10 into the economy. Months later the feds cut agriculture research funding and his lab was closing.

The problem with local volunteers covering the maintenance of recreational spaces is that they don't have the resources to advertise and bring in tourists that aren't doing the deep dive into researching their recreational activity.


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