A Maple Ridge woman wants to see a fair public consultation process over the reservation system for B.C. Parks.
Angela Dunne-Massey, who lives only 15 minutes away from Golden Ears Provincial Park, wants the system to change to include a portion of first-come, first-serve sites for the public.
“It is tremendously awful,” Dunne-Massey said of the current system.
She is angry that there is a lack of camping spots available at the park, but a lot of no-shows.
And she isn’t the only one to complain.
Kathie Rennie, who also lives 15 minutes outside the park said the system has taken the fun out of, “packing up on a whim and heading to go camping”.
And, she added, without first-come, first-serve she probably won’t go back to Golden Ears.
About two years ago Dunne-Massey started a petition to keep access open for first-come, first-serve campers that currently has 10,618 signatures.
“There should be a balance between the groups,” explained Dunne-Massey.
There are groups that can’t do reservations, she said, like seniors and health care workers, who can’t possibly know four months in advance if they are able to book a site.
And Dunne-Massey feels that based on Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendation about staying micro-local, B.C. Parks should have made all camping first-come, first-serve.
“But they didn’t do any of that,” she said.
Instead, campgrounds are empty, added Dunne-Massey, and, “people who are actually the taxpayers are not getting the benefit that they are supposed to be able to use”.
Dunne-Massey said her friends were at Golden Ears the last weekend of June. They had reserved their sites but noticed that there was no one at the sites around them. So they drove to the main booth where you pay for your spot and asked if they could purchase the sites for their friends, said Dunne Massey.
However they were told that the sites were booked.
But, said Dunne-Massey, for the five days they were there nobody showed up.
Dunne-Massey and her team – Lucien Campeau, Mel Turner, and Mike Babor – want a meeting with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, who oversees B.C. Parks.
They were supposed to meet with him in March but the meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19.
“I’m not saying we need 100 per cent, I’m saying we need a portion of it,” said Dunne-Massey of having first-come, first-serve spots.
“I think that as taxpayers we should have access to a park, especially when it is 15 minutes down the street.”
• Stu Burgess, operations manager for Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks could not be reached for comment by story deadline.