The provincial government’s decision to hand over the operation and control of a campground in Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park to a private corporation will cost families more, according to SGEU.
“Any profits generated by our parks should go back into preserving the natural environment and enhancing park services, not into the pockets of a private developer,” said SGEU President Bob Bymoen.
“Private companies are in business to make money, and the financial return they expect from their investment will be made by charging higher fees to families using the park,” he says.
“Provincial parks are part of our natural heritage, and should be affordable for all,” he adds. “But government is increasingly putting parts of our parks up for sale.”
In addition to the recent $1.3 -million deal with Cactus Blume Campground Ltd. to build and operate a 125-site seasonal campground at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, there have been numerous other sell-offs, including:
• A long-term lease was handed to a private company in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park to open a new 75-site RV park.
• Twenty-three cabins at Greenwater Lake Provincial Park were sold off to a Regina-based property management company.
• A private company was contracted to provide an online booking system for campers. The new system has been plagued by serious failings, including frequent crashes, hours-long delays, and overcharged users.
• A British Columbia-based company was hired to build and operate a new marina in Blackstrap Provincial Park.
The day-to-day operations of our provincial parks are also being undermined by privatization, according to Bymoen. Services like cutting firewood, maintaining hiking trails, and cleaning park facilities are increasingly being handed over to private contractors.
“Through slow but steady privatization, our parks are being treated like business opportunities, instead of public assets that belong to all Saskatchewan people,” he says.
“We need to keep provincial parks well-maintained and affordable for families. That means re-investing revenues back into park services, not handing profits to private companies,” according to Bymoen. “We call on government to stop the quiet sell-off of our provincial parks.”
For additional information, contact:
SGEU, Communications Officer