Government announces Parks investment

Last week, MP David Wilks announced a series of government investments in national parks, including $62 million for Yoho.

Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks (centre

Over the past week, Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks announced a series of new investments for National Parks in his riding, including both Yoho and Glacier National Parks.

The investment for Yoho will total more than $62 million, including extensive paving, guardrail replacement and slope stabilization work along the Park’s portion of the Trans-Canada Highway. It will also include the re-paving of Emerald Lake Road and new signage leading to Takkakaw Falls.

The July 17 Yoho announcement came one day after the federal government announced investments totalling $156 million for Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks. That figure includes money set aside for paving, bridge rehabilitation and avalanche mitigations on the Trans-Canada.

The Kootenay-Columbia riding comprises Canada’s largest concentration of National Parks, making these upgrades an important realization for Wilks.

“All of the improvements within the National Parks provide for a better experience and that’s what we’re trying to work on and it improves safety as well,” Wilks said.

If he has his way, this will be just the start of investment into the Parks in this region, with Wilks having submitted a $5 billion proposal earlier this year in order to twin Highway 1 through Yoho, Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks.

“I try every year to ensure that I put in a budget submission for the Parks. My heart, my passion is to try and get the Trans-Canada twinned but it’s a big ticket item,” Wilks said.

“($5 billion) is a big pill to swallow when any Minister of Finance looks at it…but that’s the cost…as long as I’m still the member of parliament, my number one goal is to continually push to get the Trans-Canada twinned.”

For local NDP candidate Wayne Stetski, however, the latest investments from the Conservatives are a case of too little, too late.

“It’s been a series of cuts…funding cuts, staffing cuts and service cuts for a number of years now under the Harper Conservative government,” he said. “The figures speak for themselves really.”

In 2012, the federal government announced it would cut the $631 million Parks Canada budget by $29.2 million over three years. However, earlier this year, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq told the House of Commons that Parks Canada’s overall budget had actually increased by 26 per cent since the Conservatives took office in 2006. Taking inflation into account, that figure is closer to 8.4 per cent according to the CBC and doesn’t account for expensive new projects, including the development of Toronto’s Rouge National Urban Park, which will eat up $14 million annually until 2022.

Parks Canada has also said that of its buildings, valued at $15 billion, half are in poor to very poor condition.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Your Columbia River Revelstoke candidates; Nicole Cherlet (NDP); Samson Boyer (Green) and Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal). The polls are closed and ballots being counted. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Clovechok preliminary winner with 52 per cent of the vote

35 of 77 polls have reported and The Canadian Press is calling Clovechok winner

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
One case of COVID-19 identified at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health will follow up directly with those who may have been exposed to the virus

BC NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu offered praise to her team of volunteers (pictured Oct. 21), following a too-close race with BC Liberal and incumbent Eric Foster in the 2020 provincial election Oct. 24. The outcome will be dependent on the final count from mail-in ballots expected in three weeks. (Facebook)
‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu

Incumbent BC Liberal Eric Foster finishes election night with slim lead

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO)
UPDATE: One dead after Highway 97A crash near Armstrong, police watchdog investigating

The crash happened as RCMP attempted to stop an alleged stolen vehicle

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Most Read