Opinion

Alberta Parks: The Approaching Darkness

Alberta is a province bursting with beauty. Look around you and you will see fields and forests. Mountains and plains. Valleys and rivers. Alberta has it all, and that is something we should be proud of.

I am not, however, proud of how the Alberta government is dealing with our provincial parks.

This past March, Jason Kenny announced that the Alberta government was looking to fully or partially close 20 provincial park spaces. In addition, they will sell off, or develop partnerships in, an additional 164 locations to third parties. The changes, in a plan they called “Optimizing Alberta’s Parks,” will affect approximately 39% of the current 473 operating provincial parks, recreation areas, ecological reserves, wildland parks and wilderness reserves. These changes will include a broad range of measures including permanent closure, restricted access or reduced services. The claim is that these parks are costing too much and seeing very little in revenue.

Fair enough, I suppose.

But…

I can’t get behind this plan in the least.

You ass-hats have not invested in the park system at all in an attempt to drive tourism or boost local usage. We complain all day about how the economy is in a free fall, listen to plans about how the government is investing in Alberta, and then we see the axe on one of Alberta’s, potentially, most bankable preexisting assets. What the hell is wrong with you?

You should be using these parks to attract people and business to Alberta. Nobody wants to live or work in an area of the world with nothing to do, and nothing to see. Staff and promote these areas properly! They are an advantage, not a burden!

I’m starting to feel like we’re reliving an episode of the Simpsons. “We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of options,” so the quote goes.

The truth is, you don’t want to try. You don’t care.

So let’s take a brief look at the numbers here.

The average annual budget of Alberta is approximately 7 billion. The savings from these park closures, an estimated 5 million, amounts to a whopping 0.0007% of that budget. This rounds out to just slightly over $1 per person. To put this in a simpler context, you went to McDonald’s, bought approximately $400 worth of food and you couldn’t afford to get yourself a mayo packet.

Yep, that is going to save us. Well done! (<—this is sarcasm)

But somehow, the Alberta government managed to put together a controversially effective war room to boost Alberta’s energy sector at a cost $30 million to the taxpayers.

Yep, that is going to save us. Well done! (<—this is also sarcasm)

I support the industry, but I did not ask for this!

I am proud to be Albertan, but there’s nothing to be proud of here.

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