BC Environment Minister Mary Polak announced on Thursday afternoon that for the first time since 2010 fees at provincial campsites will be increasing effective March 15, 2015.
According to the government news release, the vast majority of provincial campsites will see a two dollar per night increase while other sites will see an increase of up to five dollars per night.
Minister Polak suggests that these increases are necessary to increase investments into the over 1000 provincial parks or protected areas in BC.
Over the past five years the government said that they have invested $60 million into park facilities and another $700 million of infrastructure that require maintenance.
“By increasing user fees in campgrounds, campers who use the parks system are helping to keep it sustainable for future generations to enjoy,” concluded Environment Minister Mary Polak
Meanwhile the NDP Environment Critic Spencer Chandra Herbert expressed his concerns that there’s no guarantee that the funds from the fee increases will actually go towards investments into park maintenance.
Chandra-Herbert said that BC is the only park system in the country without an parks interpreter program to help guide and teach visitors about the parks.
The Vancouver-West End MLA suggested that many British Columbians have told him that a lack of maintenance is noticeable at parks throughout the province.
Chandra-Herbert is interested to see whether the funds from these fee increases will be reflected in the budget in February. His concern remains that all families in BC, including low income families, have access to our beautiful parks.
British Columbia enjoys one of the largest park systems in the world and can also boast about having the highest percentage of protect land out of all provincial Canadian jurisdictions.