B.C. announces new $83 million investment for BC Parks Friday

$83M parks investment

UPDATE: 1 p.m.

Over the next three years, the BC Parks' budget will increase by more than $83 million, the province announced Friday.

The increased investment, a part of Budget 2021, will mean more new campgrounds across the province, increased campsites and amenities at existing campgrounds, expanding and improving accessibility on trails and hiring more parks employees.

BC Parks capital budget will increase by an average of 57 per cent and the operating budget will increase by an average of 22 per cent each year.

In a statement, the province says they've yet to decide where in B.C. this new funding will go towards.

"The pandemic has brought more people than ever to visit BC Parks so they can safely spend time with family and friends while connecting to nature,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“Investing in our parks helps secure our magnificent natural legacy so more British Columbians can appreciate its beauty. We are also supporting local businesses and the economy by creating employment opportunities through new investments in park infrastructure.”

This summer, 185 new campsites have been added across the province. More than 1,500 new sites have been built since 2017.

A new 90-site campground is scheduled to open in Manning Park in July. It will be fully serviced with water, sewer and electrical sites.

Between 2014 and 2019, BC Parks saw a 23 per cent increase in visitors across B.C and 270,000 camping reservations were made in 2020 alone.

It's unclear if any of the new investment will go towards improving the Discover Camping booking website, which has performed less than optimally under heavy loads in the past.

ORIGINAL: 12:15 p.m.

The B.C. government announced a new $83 million investment over the next three years to develop new BC Parks campgrounds, upgrading existing park campgrounds and trails and hiring new Parks staff.

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, made the funding announcement Friday morning. At this time, it's not clear where in B.C. the new Parks funding will go.

More to come.

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