Friday, July 29, 2016

Ontario.....Yours to RECOVER


As of August 1,2016 the park will now be charging for parking at the two new parking lots equipped with the latest in money gobbling technology. Yes a mere $5.75 for up to two (2) hours of parking.
You are paying for parking, not for use of the park. 
You may be wondering why.
Easy.
By paying for parking at the meter and displaying your ticket in your window, they only have to have the enforcement officer lurk around the parking lot waiting for you to enjoy the park a little longer than you paid for. Then will write you a ticket.
But if they were to have you pay for use of the park, the park enforcement would have to get out of their vehicle and be on the trails to insure you have paid for your use. 
I have contacted the Ontario Parks people to express my concern and did get a reply. 
Please read the following and if you are as peeved off at one more nickle and dime of taxation of something our taxes pay for in the first place, please respond to the contact person listed.
Hi Larry,

Thank you for your email regarding Komoka Provincial Park, we appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns.

Komoka Provincial Park now receives an estimated annual visitation of over 90,000. Due to this high volume of visitors Ontario Parks made the decision to install a pay and display machine to recover the cost of maintaining the parking lots, privies, and ongoing maintenance. The fee for the Pay and Display machine is $5.75 per vehicle for two hours.

It may interest you to know that the Ontario Parks system is largely funded through user fees. The money that visitors pay for services in Ontario Parks stays in Ontario Parks. All park revenues are deposited into a Special Purpose Account (SPA) and are used to offset the cost of operating the provincial parks system. In 2015, Ontario Parks operated at over 85 per cent self-sufficiency.

Ontario Parks is committed to providing world-class recreational opportunities for our visitors at reasonable and competitive prices. Park fees are reviewed annually; we also compare our fees with other park organizations, including other provinces and private operators that offer similar services and find that our fees do compare favourably. Fees are approved through Treasury Board and the legislative authority for Ontario Parks is the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act and the Financial Administration Act.

This decision to initiate self-serve collection of fees within Komoka Provincial Park is consistent with the park management plan.  The park management plan was developed between 2001 and 2010 and included several opportunities for public and Indigenous consultation.  All comments and input received during consultation were taken into consideration in the development of the final plan which was released in May 2010.  The Komoka park management plan can be found on Ontario Parks website.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding Komoka Provincial Park please contact Rhonda Card, Park Superintendent at (519) 874-4691 or rhonda.card@ontario.ca.

Again, thank you for writing and I hope you continue to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the outdoor health benefits that our provincial parks have to offer.

Regards,

Ontario Parks

4 comments:

Maureen Dow said...

I would like to know where the privies are?

tvdm12000 said...

In a recent communication with another person concerned about the parking fees, an important point was made. This is what he said:

I am contacting our MPP to complain. Writing to Parks Ontario is not going to be effective. Their salaries are effectively paid by the revenues collected.

It is only if an MOPP thinks he or she may lose votes that action might happen

tvdm12000 said...

This is a letter that a friend sent to the local MPP:

My name is John Lean and I live in West London, not far from Komoka Provincial Park. Recently I,along with many other users of the park, were disappointed to learn that access to the park was being restricted and that a new parking fee of $5.50 (for 2hrs use) was being charged.

I have brought my young family to the park many times over the years. It is too far for us to walk there and my children are still too young to cycle on the main roads. The only access for us is by vehicle. Due to the new fee, we will be forced to stop going to this park. I know many others feel the same way and have been expressing their opinions on social media. I have seen very few cars parked in the new "pay-only" lot.

Effectively they have closed the park for all except those who enter on foot or who park illegally on the road shoulders. People will surely choose to visit city of London parks or other parks instead. While I realize that there are costs to maintain our parks system, I must say it is hard to see this new policy as anything other than a money grab.

Komoka Park was enjoyed by many people for many years without the need to collect fees. There is very little infrastructure in the park. There was a gravel parking area, a wooden stairway down a steep slope, a handful of picnic tables, and some rough trails. That's it. The beauty of the park has always been its natural simplicity. In the 10 years or so that I have been visiting, I have never seen a Parks Ontario employee there. The budget to "maintain" this naturalized area ought to be extremely modest. It would not even come close to approaching, on a per acre basis, the cost of maintaining Springbank Park ( a park that is free to visitors) or Fanshawe Park , for example.

I would invite both of you to comment on this and whether you are willing to assist in reversing this very poor decision to impose a further tax on the citizens of west London and surrounding areas to simply enjoy a walk, run or cycle in a naturalized area that should belongs to all of us.

Regards

John Lean

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