Contracting out limits access to parks and recreation areas

Contracting out limits access to parks and recreation areas

Since the inception of “contracting out’” (privatization) of B.C. parks, and B.C. Forest Service Recreation Areas, people, B.C. residents and tourists alike have little to no access to them.

B.C. parks: After Labour Day weekend, campgrounds are locked and closed, day use gates are locked. In some cases gates at the entrance to the park are locked. I retired as assistant district manager, Fraser Valley District, headquartered at Cultus Lake, B.C. During my tenure, prior to contracting, we kept Entrance Bay campground open 12 months of the year. I resided in the Park residence, and maintained the campground myself. The odd winter we would enjoy snow, and have campers in the park, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing over Christmas and New Years. Locked up now so Parks don’t have to pay contractors.

Most other parks are closed and gated. Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park entrance is also gated and locked. A few weeks ago there were 21 vehicles parked at the gate, which had a sign “Closed for (alleged) construction. Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park has the only boat launch, thus boaters on beautiful autumn days are denied entrance. Prospectors with claims at the east end of the lake have no access, as the road is washed out. I experienced little to no vandalism when the park was not gated.

Forest Service Recreation Areas: Many of them are also gated and locked in early fall. One of notice locally, is Allison Pool. Recently 17 Vehicles were parked along side the Chilliwack Lake Road, where there is insufficient shoulder for cars to park clear of the road, thus often times parking so as to “obstruct free passage of vehicles.” An Employee of Forest Service advised me, that Allison Pool is open to “group camping” only, so the contractor makes money, and B.C. citizens, and visitors to our province are denied use of their facility.

I could foresee this coming when the contracting out started. I witnessed a multitude of good staff, sincerely dedicated to their work, abruptly dismissed, in favour of contractors.

Obviously the ministers responsible are not users of these lands and areas designed for We the Public.

Ed Kelly

(Former Park Ranger)

Chilliwack

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