The Trent-Severn Waterway, Rideau Canal and Western Quebec Canals are in trouble. March 29, 2012 the Federal Budget cut funding to Parks Canada by 29.2 million dollars. The Parks Canada Agency under the Federal Department of the Environment is responsible for the ongoing day to day water control, operation, maintenance and visitor experiences within the various Canal corridors throughout Ontario and Quebec.
On April 11 the CEO of Parks Canada (Alan Latourelle) contacted all Canal Employees about their future employment with the following news……
"Parks Canada will align the length of its season, hours of operation, and personal service at locks on canals to focus investments on the periods of highest requirements."
On May 18 – opening day for Canal operations in 2012 Minister Peter Kent (Minister of the Environment) officially opened the waterway with the following notice to stakeholders…..
“As we implement changes to next year’s navigation season, Parks Canada will work closely with local stakeholders, Members of Parliament and partners to minimize, where possible, the impacts of these changes on neighbouring communities and partners in the tourism community,”
During the last 2 months speculation surrounding these 2 phrases has been rampant throughout the Waterway Corridors. Municipal Mayors, Community Leaders and MP’s have been gathering information to be delivered to the Minister by August 1. This information will include the effect of a changed season of operation within their community. In jeopardy is the recognizable economic spinoff from the traditional tourist season along the Corridor region which revolves around Victoria Day to Thanksgiving. Also being evaluated is the ability of a reduced Parks staff to properly control water movement throughout the Watershed.
What should you do?
Ask what the future landscape will look like after cutbacks have been implemented. How will the Parks organization deliver their services to both the land and water based users? What will these re-aligned services be?
Ask how much of the $29.2 million cutback to Parks Canada will be directly taken from Canal operations over the next 3 years. Is the Canal reduction in proportion with other Parks across Canada?
Ask how you can become involved with the stakeholder consultation process. Your voice is important for the decision makers to properly align services.
Your timeline for input is very short. Decisions have already been made by the Senior Executive Management within Parks Canada and continue to be implemented without proper consultation to the stakeholders at large.
You can e-mail your local MP, Minister of Environment and the Prime Minister directly with your concerns.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent
Your Local MP address available at ….