Queen’s Park – During question period on Thursday, Peggy Sattler, NDP MPP for London West, revealed new data showing that parking fees introduced at Komoka Provincial Park last year have resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of annual park visitors.
Sattler pressed the Wynne government to immediately remove the fees.
“The fees of $5.25 an hour or $14.50 a day were imposed without any real consultation and with paving as the only justification” said Sattler. “Since the fees were introduced in August 2016, thousands of Londoners have signed my petition calling for the removal of the fees.”
Sattler was contacted by London West resident Bill Boswell, who learned from Park Superintendent Rhonda Card that approximately $67,000 was collected from parking fees over the 16-month period between August 1, 2016 and November 30, 2017. Given the estimated 100,000 park visitors annually before the parking fees were introduced, Sattler said this figure signifies a significant drop in the number of families visiting the park.
“If we assume two people per car, with each car paying for just one hour of parking, this translates into 25,000 visitors over 16 months -- a drop in attendance of more than 75 per cent," said Sattler. “The park is really only accessible by car, and the data confirms that the fees are creating huge barriers to access.”
Sattler first called on the government to remove the fees shortly after they were introduced, but Kathleen Wynne has continued to let down London families who may lack the resources to pay for parking and have given up using the park. Sattler hopes the new evidence will finally make the Liberals do the right thing and remove parking fees at Komoka Provincial Park.
“Does the minister think that a paltry $67,000 was worth depriving tens of thousands of Londoners, including seniors, people struggling with mental health issues and others on low or fixed incomes, from the benefits of using this park?” asked Sattler.