The self-styled “Unhappy Campers” want the public to come out in droves for a meeting about Golden Ears Provincial Park this Friday.
Angela Massey is the spokesperson for a group that has been fighting to keep campsites available on a first-come-first-served (FCFS) basis. They said there should be an equal number to those reserveable online at the busy campground.
Their position is that not everyone can book their vacation time four months in advance, some people are not online savvy and some lack credit cards. What’s more, the online booking system has shown flaws and has been abused, Massey said.
BC Parks had announced the provincial campground would go 100 per cent reservable online in the 2019 season, with no more drive-up spots available. However, Massey’s group asked Parks to reconsider, and has a petition with 9,000 names of people who support FCFS. Campsites stayed at about 80 per cent reservable online last season. There are 443 campsites in the park, with the recent addition of 20 walk-in sites, and 350 are reservable.
Now BC Parks has announced an information session on Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hammond Community Centre (20601 Westfield Ave.).
“The purpose of the session is to provide the public with information about camping reservations in Golden Ears Park, share the results of a survey BC Parks completed this summer, and highlight improvements coming for summer 2020,” said the invitation.
Massey recently met with MLA Lisa Beare about this issue, and has been critical of BC Parks for not getting public input, as other agencies such as TransLink do prior to making large changes and policy decisions.
Subsequently, the meeting was announced, and Massey said she is hoping to see a huge turnout there.
“I’m hoping to pack it, so I’ve sent the invitation to everyone,” she said.
Massey said BC Parks appears to want a poor turnout at the meeting, having scheduled it for after work on a Friday.
“I’m pretty sure, for most campers, that’s their pub time,” she said.
However, she said it is an important meeting for local campers who want to be able to drive into their campsite. She hopes to speak at the event, and said there still may be time to save some campsites for people who don’t have the option of online booking.