B.C. PARKS ARE IN EMBARRASSING CONDITION ON 100TH ANNIVERSARYMay 3, 2011
"Last year the Auditor General gave the B.C. Liberal government a failing grade for their mismanagement of our parks system. Now, instead of taking real action to repair our ailing B.C. Parks system, Premier Christy Clark is doing nothing but removing the parking fees she imposed as deputy premier," said Fleming.
Fleming noted that the B.C. Liberals budget cut of $10 million to parks funding has excluded many B.C. families from the use and enjoyment of parks, with three million fewer visitors annually since 2001 - a 16 per cent decline.
"For years now park attendance has been in free fall, and parking fees were only part of the equation," said Fleming. "The B.C. Liberal decision to eliminate interpretive services and the progressive decline in parks facilities due to ongoing budget cuts have made our parks less family-friendly."
According to Fleming, part of the problem is that B.C. Parks has to manage more parks and protected areas with 26 per cent less funding than they had in 2001.
"We've added more land to our parks system and at the same time we have cut the number of park rangers devoted to protecting it. In 2001 we had 26 full time park rangers, now there are just 10 working in our parks," said Fleming.
"The Opposition New Democrats predicted parking fees would be a disaster at the time that Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals introduced them, but they are just one of the many ways that the accessibility and pride in our parks system has been undermined by this government."
Adrian Dix and the B.C. New Democrats are strongly committed to strengthening and protecting our B.C. Parks system for families today and for generations to come.
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