Posted on Mar 3, 2021
JASON KENNEY SECRETLY RAISES PARKS FEES ON ALBERTANS
CALGARY – Alberta families will pay more to use their parks this summer as Jason Kenney’s new budget hikes fees by $20 million but hides from Albertans exactly which fees will go up.
The UCP already raised campsite fees in their last budget by $10 — from $26 to $36 a night. Now, Budget 2021 includes another $20 million in fee increases, almost $14 million of which is not fully detailed in the fee schedule changes contained in budget documents released last week.
“In Alberta, the landscape is part of who we are,” said NDP Municipal Affairs Critic Joe Ceci. “We are campers, hikers, mountain bikers and more. We all go camping to escape from the daily grind, enjoy time with the family, and reconnect with nature.
“Rather than fully fund Alberta’s parks, it’s clear that Jason Kenney is planning to cover up his cuts by nickel and diming everyday families who enjoy the outdoors.”
Online campaign registration for the 2021 season is set to begin in Alberta on Thursday.
Page 89 of the Budget 2021 Fiscal Plan states that “some new or increased fees in Environment and Parks” are estimated to add $20 million in revenue.
Only $4.5 million of that increase is accounted for by the introduction of the previously announced $30 Trail Permit Fee that will be collected from off-highway vehicle users and Albertans using camping trailers. The remaining revenue cannot be fully accounted for by the $1 to $3 fee increase listed in the Changes to Fees schedule on page 189.
“Where is the rest of this money coming from?” asked Ceci. “Is it coming out of the pockets of Alberta families through fees for camping and things like firewood and electrical hookup?
“That seems like a lot. When Albertans log-on to ReserveAlbertaParks.ca tomorrow, exactly how much extra are they going to pay? Unlike the UCP, Albertans understand that international travel in a pandemic puts themselves and their communities at risk, and they want to enjoy their provincial parks,” Ceci said.
“Many Alberta families are enduring financial hardship right now, and they deserve to know what it’s going to cost them.”
The fee increases come on the heels of the UCP’s cancelled plan to sell-off Alberta’s parks, their new winter ski-fee in Kananaskis, and their decision to allow foreign companies to strip-mine sensitive areas of Alberta’s treasured Eastern Slopes.