Date published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
THUNDER BAY – The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) is joining the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) in advocacy efforts opposed to the cancellation of overnight camping in nine Provincial Parks across Northern Ontario including one in the Northwest.
On September 27th, the Ministry of Natural Resources announced a “transformation plan” that includes changing the designation of 10 Ontario Parks of which 8 are in the Northeast and 1 in the Northwest (Caliper Lake northwest of Fort Frances). These parks will no longer permit overnight camping and will only allow day usage. This change will have a negative impact on local business by reducing opportunities for RVers and campers to stay in the community.
NOMA and FONOM are circulating a petition that calls on the Legislative Assembly to suspend plans to cancel overnight camping at these Northern Provincial Parks and to consult with local municipalities, stakeholders and regional economic and tourism development organizations regarding long-term viability. NOMA has also requested a meeting with Minister Gravelle to discuss our concerns and provide options for continued operation of these facilities.
“NOMA is extremely concerned by the continued hollowing out of services in our Northern communities with no advance consultation regarding alternatives,” says NOMA President Ron Nelson, Mayor of O’Connor. “The loss of overnight camping at Caliper Lake Provincial Park is just one in a growing list of cuts. In the past six months alone, we have witnessed the closure of Travel Information Centres in Fort Frances, Kenora and Rainy River, we have been advised of a reduction of operation from 40 hours/wk to 16 hours/wk at the Service Ontario counter in Rainy River, and we are awaiting details on possible staff reductions at MNR offices across the North.”
Nelson continued, “The Drummond Report provided hundreds of suggestions for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public service delivery….NONE of those recommendations included closing Provincial Parks to overnight camping. This decision will result in direct job losses and negatively impact tourism and the economy.”
The petition is available for download at www.noma.on.ca
NOMA represents the interests of 37 municipalities from Kenora and Rainy River in the west to Hornepayne and Wawa in the east. It provides leadership in advocating regional interests to all orders of government and other organizations.
NOMA President Ron Nelson
Mayor of O’Connor
Phone: (807) 621-8211