News Views: Squeeze play

Raising camplng fees another example of Liberals hurting those who can afford it least

Camping fees, like everything else (MSP, Hydro, ICBC), are going up.

The Liberal government has announced that, as of March 15, fees to camp in provincial parks will increase $2 to $5.

That might not sound like much, but it’s going to cost $35 a night to sleep on the ground in Golden Ears Provincial Park, up from $30.

Over a long weekend, that would total $105.

Add on the cost of travel, food and other necessities, and camping is no longer a cheap option for young families, or young adults working minimum-wage jobs.

According to the Ministry of Environment, this is the first province-wide increase in camping fees since 2010. The varied rate increases take into account local demand and economic conditions, as well as private camping availability.

The province collected about $17 million from its park and recreation fees last year, while spending $22 million on direct park operating costs.

Meanwhile, campsite use is on the rise in B.C. since the introduction of an online reservation service. Discover Camping handled 133,000 reservations last year, nearly a 10 per cent increase over 2013.

We understand that parks take money to operate and maintain, and that pay parking was an unpopular experiment.

But camping is about the least expensive vacation opportunity, and squeezing residents for more money just when gas prices have plummeted comes off as a cash grab.

It’s well documented how cash-poor Canadians are, especially here in B.C., where housing prices are out of line. We deserve a break.

Campgrounds get families outdoors, together. They are where kids learn to respect nature, to start a fire, where they chop wood and swim in the lake, roast marshmallows and gaze at the stars.

They also attract tourists, who spend money in town.

Camping used to be something everyone could afford.

Raising camping fees is just another example of the Liberals taking advantage of people who can least afford to pay.

– The News