Survey Says - Don’t Privatize Manitoba Parks, Improve them
Apr 23, 2021
A Probe Research survey commissioned by MGEU shows that Manitobans are overwhelmingly against privatizing our provincial parks and want to see more investments by the Province in our parks to sustain and improve them. The survey (conducted in March 2021) revealed that Manitobans are not only against eliminating existing parks, but also want to see new ones created.
“The results of this survey are important, considering the government has begun floating some very concerning changes to how our parks are funded and maintained,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “The results speak for themselves: Manitobans want more recreational amenities, more programming, protection and improvement of natural areas, and investment in staffing by the Province. We cannot let the Pallister government auction off our parks network to private industry like they have done with so many of our other public services and assets.”
Key findings in the survey reveal:
- 90% of respondents oppose eliminating provincial parks;
- 71% of respondents oppose transferring the management of parks to the private sector;
- 85% of respondents support creating new provincial parks;
- 64% of respondents want to see more investment in Protecting the natural environment in provincial parks;
- 56% of respondents want to see more spending on trails and other outdoor recreational opportunities in parks;
- 49% of respondents want more investment in campground facilities while just 4% wanted to see less investment; and
- 49% of respondents think the government needs to invest more on staffing provincial parks, 27% said we spend the right amount, and 3% think less investment is warranted.
With more Manitobans getting outdoors and heading to provincial parks during the pandemic, maintaining and investing in our parks is more important than ever.
“Manitobans clearly want better parks with upgraded facilities and trails. They want more done to protect the natural environment in our parks,” said Gawronsky. “Giving Manitobans what they want means hiring and retaining more staff to do this important work. Unfortunately, instead of making the needed investments to retain public servants and hire new people, we have seen inadequate staffing levels and a revolving door of staff turnover,” she said.
“We’ve been advocating that all parks staff, from maintenance, security, attendants and conservation officers need to have their wages come in line with that of our neighbouring provinces. Manitoba’s Conservation Officers have the lowest starting wage in western Canada.”
The provincial government’s latest proposals to privatize, cut and contract out provincial parks follow a recent privatization scheme that sent
online sales for provincial park passes and fishing licenses to a company in