Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Sarah Campbell at Queen's Park
Kenora-Rainy River says the province's latest tourism campaign ignores the needs of northwestern Ontario. She says their fall colours campaign completely overlooked the parks in the Kenora-Rainy River riding.
"Yesterday the Ontario government unveiled a fall colours campaign encouraging people to travel Ontario. In my riding alone, seven parks have already been closed for the season and that doesn't include the northern parks that were permanently shut down by this government without any notice or consultation," she said.
"What's worse is that all ten of the suggested routes in your tourism guide are in southern Ontario. The guide also encourages people to stop in at their travel information centres, although this government has already shut those down too," she added.
Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti responded, saying the parks that Campbell said were closed permanently were only put under non-operational status.
"The member opposite is well aware that in last years budget in respect to the fiscal challenges that we were facing in the ministry and the transformation efforts that were being made, a number of parks were converted to non-operational status. It didn't mean they were closed, it meant that there would not be staff present and individuals could still explore those parks and have that opportunity," he said.
Campbell came back, saying that the closure of parks and the release of the tourism campaign were only one part of the issue.
"This government has locked the gates. It's shut down travel information centres across the northwest and replaced them with an app that doesn't have our content and doesn't work in the north. We have Travel Manitoba signs dotting our highways, and now they unveil the tourism strategy in black and white 'Travel Southern Ontario'. Minister, is this what your government means when they say 'trust us, we have a solid tourism strategy for northern Ontario,'?" she said.
Three tourist information centres were closed in 2012, including the centre at the Manitoba border.
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