MP Brown and MP Leitch Continue Campaign to Save Springwater Park
May 08, 2013
Barrie - Today, MP Patrick Brown and MP Dr. Kellie Leitch sent the following letter to the Minister of the Environment Peter Kent in an effort to reverse the provincial decision that made Springwater Park non-operational:
May 8, 2013
The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment
Member of Parliament for Thornhill (Ontario)
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor
Dear Minister Kent,
Last month the Province of Ontario made Springwater Provincial Park non-operational due to what they deemed “reduced attendance over the last ten years” and “revenue losses”.
For over fifty years, attendees of Springwater Park have primarily come from Barrie and the surrounding area in the riding of Simcoe-Grey. These residents have enjoyed family visits to the animal sanctuary, cross country skiing, picnics, community group events and hiking on woodland trails establishing traditions and so many fond memories for so many of our constituents . This park is also currently home to a WW1 cenotaph recognizing the veterans of Vespra and honouring their sacrifice for Canada. In short, this park is very unique.
On April 1st, the gates were closed to vehicles, the buildings shut down and the animals were in the process of being moved.
We strongly disagree that attendance is in decline. In fact, we have information that shows visitors to the park since 2008 have been consistently in the 35,000 range and the figures for 2012 actually increased from the previous year.
Further, we were surprised to learn that this park’s cost recovery ratio for 2011 was 81% and the overall operating loss is less than $50,000 per annum (2012 is not available at this time).
Based on the amount of feedback we have received from our constituents since the announcement was made last fall, it is crystal clear to both of us that this park is indeed a well enjoyed and treasured environmental asset for area residents.
We are not alone in this realization. Township Councils in Oro-Medonte and Springwater as well as Barrie City Council have all passed resolutions in recent months to keep this park operational. We agree wholeheartedly agree with these local officials.
As Members of Parliament for the riding where the park is located and for the city where the majority of the park’s visitors come from, we have been very active in trying to find a solution. We have worked closely with a local advocacy group, Friends of Springwater Park and commend them on their efforts.
With so many voices echoing their outrage over the closure of this park, we respectively ask the Minister if Environment Canada would commit funds to address Springwater Park’s annual operating losses estimated to be $46,400.
We thank you in advance for your consideration.
Patrick Brown, MP for Barrie
Dr. Kellie Leitch, O.Ont, MD, FRCS(C), MP for Simcoe-Grey
Cc – Friends of Springwater Park
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May 08, 2013MP Brown and MP Leitch Continue Campaign to Save Springwater Park
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