More Than Half Of Canada's National Park Infrastructure In Poor Condition

An analysis of infrastructure across Canada's national park system says more than half of the structures -- including roads, dams, and historic buildings -- are in poor condition.

That conclusion, that 53 percent of the structures were in dire condition, was reached in an inventory conducted for Parks Canada by Opus International Consultants Ltd.. The Opus review followed up on an inventory Parks Canada conducted that found that not quite 50 percent of the infrastructure was in "poor" or "very poor" condition.

The status of cultural facilities such as historic forts was found to be in worse condition, with Opus International finding 61 percent of the structures to be in poor or very poor shape.

Parks Canada officials were withholding comment on the independent analysis pending their review of the findings.

"The third party review and corresponding report is being finalised. The Agency will require some time to examine the results of the review in advance of communicating more broadly," wrote Geneviève Patenaude, the media relations officer for Parks Canada, in an email. She also declined to release a copy of the report to the Traveler.

The findings made by Opus International were obtained by The Canadian Press under Canada's Access to Information Act.

Parks Canada has come under fire in recent years for weak management of its real-estate portfolio, which includes historic canals and archeological sites, in addition to campgrounds, access roads and visitor centres.

An internal evaluation in 2009 slammed officials for failing to maintain a reliable inventory of hundreds of buildings and other structures, estimated to be worth some $15 billion today.

In response, Parks Canada undertook a thorough review of all its assets in 2012 to set a baseline, estimating there was $2.9 billion worth of deferred repairs.

The rest of The Canadian Press story can be found here.

Comments

From the linked article: "Parks Canada, which operates more than 200 national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas, has been hit hard since 2012 with budget cuts. The agency lost some 587 staff in 2012-2013, for example, or about 13 per cent of its workforce. At the same time, 20.6 million people visited its sites in 2012-2013, a three per cent increase and the first rise in visitor numbers in four years." This is what we've heard locally from Parks Canada staff - they feel lucky to be among the survivors of staffing cuts. I fear for austerity-minded folks, short sighted to the damage they do as they are, having a similar effect on NPS.