Komoka Provincial Park, located just outside my riding of London West, is truly a gem in my community. For years, people of London West have visited Komoka to hike its scenic trails, birdwatch or just commune with nature. The park has allowed Londoners to reap the benefits associated with outdoor physical activity. In fact, Rio Olympian and London West resident Lanni Marchant, who just broke a record for a Canadian woman in the New York City Marathon, trained by running on the trails of Komoka park.
Access to the natural environment not only makes people happier and more relaxed; it also makes them healthier, with reduced stress, improved mental health well-being and lowered risk for chronic disease. I am therefore deeply disappointed by the Liberal government’s introduction of new parking fees at Komoka park, ranging from $5.75 to $14.50 for daily use. There was no call for a paved parking lot, and it’s hard to see the fees as anything other than a cash grab—a cash grab that is likely to get bigger each year, given the Liberal government’s decision to index all government fees to inflation.
I am concerned that these new fees will reduce the number of park visitors and negatively affect community health and well-being. In fact, I have already heard from many residents of London West who say they will no longer be able to afford to visit the park.
I call upon this Liberal government to remove the fees and ensure that Komoka remains accessible to London residents and to all Ontarians.