On-site inspections video reveals parks neglect
VANCOUVER, Sept. 2, 2011 /CNW/ - As part of a continuing effort to
highlight the impact of a decade of budget cuts to BC's park system,
the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) announced the
next phase of the union's Save B.C. Parks campaign today, which includes a series of billboards and an
internet-based social media campaign.
"B.C. parks have been in decline in many areas of the province for over
a decade, since the B.C. Liberal government started making massive cuts
to the parks service," says BCGEU president Darryl Walker. "The budget
cuts starting in 2009 have cut so deep that parks staff are now unable
to fully monitor and protect BC parks.
"The Premier has talked about pursuing a jobs strategy for BC, with
strategic investments in key sectors including tourism. Their own study
shows that every dollar invested by government in our parks system
generates $10 in tourism revenue. We are making the case that BC's
parks should be near the top of the government's priority list for
The BCGEU campaign focuses on recent Freedom of Information documents
that reveal in startling detail the impact of budget cuts: Only 10 full
time park rangers to serve all of B.C. More than 40 parks vehicles cut
in 2009. Gasoline and travel budgets slashed. Parks staff forced to
take Greyhound buses and taxis to visit patrol areas. Basic supply
budgets for toilet paper and office supplies evaporated.
Five billboards, which are installed on Vancouver Island, Metro
Vancouver and the B.C. interior, show a park ranger hitching a ride on
a bus with toilet supplies. On the back of the bus, an ad celebrates BC
Parks' 100th anniversary. The text reads: "Massive cuts to BC Parks. No
way to celebrate a birthday."
This summer, the BCGEU conducted an on-site inspection of over 35 BC
parks, campsites and day use areas on Vancouver Island and mainland
British Columbia, to document the impact of the cuts to BC parks. The
resulting online video reveals the decay that has beset parks in rural
areas around the province.
"Our on-site inspections clearly show that there are two park systems in
BC," says BCGEU Environment, Technical and Operational Component chair
Byron Goerz. "In favoured areas like the Olympic corridor up to
Whistler, our parks have benefitted from capital investments.
"But in large sections of rural BC, which rely on tourism for their
economic survival, BC parks are showing the effects of a decade of
decay. Infrastructure is degraded, many sites are poorly maintained and
in some cases, obvious safety hazards are being ignored for lack of
revenue, monitoring and enforcement."
The BCGEU has set up a campaign website: www.saveBCparks.ca where people can view a video of the inspection tour, download campaign
materials, and e-mail the Premier and Environment Minister to ask them
to restore funding to BC parks.
Image with caption: "SAVE BC PARKS BILLBOARDS - The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union has launched a billboard and social media campaign on Sept. 1 to draw attention to the impact of a decade of neglect in BC parks. The union has also created a campaign web page (www.saveBCparks.ca) which includes a video of a BC parks inspection tour and an online feature to e-mail the Premier and Environment Minister. (CNW Group/B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110902_C8287_PHOTO_EN_2800.jpg
SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
Chris Bradshaw at 604-291-9611 or 604-369-8411