Caliper Lake, Fushimi Lake, Greenwater, Ivanhoe Lake, Mississagi, Obatanga, René Brunelle, The Shoals and Tidewater, which are all north of Sudbury, will no longer be taken care of by the province.
These parks, along with Springwater located just north of Barrie, together accounted for about one per cent of Ontario park visits last summer.
“The parks will remain protected areas and hikers, canoeists and anglers can continue to enjoy the parks for day use free of charge,” a media release from the Ministry of Natural Resources stated.
With the savings reaped from closing these parks, the ministry said more funds can be focused on investing and maintaining its most popular 104 parks.
“The decisions we're making are necessary to modernize our business, make the ministry sustainable and help the government balance the budget,” said Michael Gravelle, minister of Natural Resources. “I'm confident that we will be more efficient and better organized to focus on what matters most to the people who rely on the ministry's programs and services.”
Along with the closing of the parks comes the elimination of 28 full-time jobs and 102 seasonal positions. The ministry stated these cuts will result in savings of $7.1 million annually and future capital costs of $12.3 million.
Alan Spacek, the mayor of Kapuskasing and the president of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), recently expressed his concerns over the closures.
“Yet again the provincial government has acted without consultation, closing parks that are the lifeblood of Northern communities adjacent to them,” he stated.
Tom Laughren, vice-president of FONOM and mayor of Timmins, said he is pushing to meet with Gravelle to share his thoughts on the importance of these parks.
Along with the closure of these parks, the province also introduced other cost-saving measures.
Some of the other avenues the MNR plans to use to save money include a day program for youth, instead of the overnight Ontario Ranger Program, modernizing the way the ministry supports community-based stewardship activities and using social media and magazine ads to remind citizens to renew their Outdoor Card.