Lodges important to provincial parks

Lodges and resorts play a vital role in Manitoba’s provincial park experience, and that ought to be better reflected in both legislation and lease agreements.

That was an important theme that came out of a meeting on Jan. 6, 2015, between the MLOA, business owners, and staff members from Manitoba’s parks branch. The meeting took place at Pinewood Lodge in Whiteshell Provincial Park, and was attended by a number of lodge and resort owners whose businesses are located in parks.

The meeting was held in response to concerns and confusion about the vehicle passes required for provincial parks, and more specifically who does and does not need one. Several park businesses had concerns relating to everything from service and repair technicians being asked to purchase a pass when coming to fix equipment at a lodge; to whether people who already pay a levy to live permanently in the park should have to purchase vehicle passes on top of that; to whether it was fair to exempt wedding guests from needing a park pass only if the wedding was taking place in a church, as opposed to on a beach or at a resort.

Other topics included issues surrounding the vending of park passes, commercial leases in the parks, and services businesses receive in return for their service fees.

We would like to thank the government staff not only for agreeing to and accommodating the meeting, but for appearing understanding of the issues faced by lodges located within the boundaries of provincial parks. These businesses are vital to the functioning of the parks, as they offer services on behalf of the government, like selling park passes, fishing and hunting licenses, and liquor, as well as serving as emergency hubs for travellers. The staff in attendance at the meeting did acknowledge this important role, and it is our hope that the MLOA and senior government officials will now be able to translate that acknowledgement into improved legislation that recognizes and rewards the role these businesses play in the province’s parks.