Little to celebrate on historic occasion
VANCOUVER, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - It's the worst of times for B.C.'s venerable
provincial parks, which celebrate their centenary on March 1, 2011.
Created by five generations of British Columbians who wanted to set
aside special places for future generations, our provincial parks are
in deep trouble.
During the past decade, BC Parks has struggled amid funding and service
cuts by the provincial government. This year, BC Parks' budget is 20
percent less than it was in 1996 when the park system was half the size
it is now.
The first services to be axed were the interpretive programs. Next, park
rangers became an endangered species. Today, B.C. has only 10 fulltime
park rangers to patrol a park system that covers almost 14 percent of
B.C.'s land base. Seasonal staff has been chopped by more than 60
percent since 2001.
Declining attendance has been the consequence of these cuts. Park visits
have dropped by 25 percent since 1999, in large part due to the
introduction of parking meters. Trails have fallen into disrepair. Some
parks have closed. Others have had their seasons shortened. Badly
needed work isn't getting done. For instance, Pinecone Burke Provincial
Park has been waiting since 1996 for its first outhouse.
Along with environmental and labour groups, and concerned citizens, the
BCGEU is a signatory to a full-page ad in the Province and Times
Colonist newspapers. We are calling on the B.C. government to increase
BC Parks' operating budget, limit industrial development, remove
parking meters and restore interpretive programs in B.C. parks.
SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
or to set up an interview, please contact Karen Tankard of BCGEU Communications, at 604-291-9611 or 604-312-1204 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org