These days, I must confess, I am a somewhat UNHAPPY Annapolitan. Why? Well, it has a lot to do with the systematic dismantling of one of the best things the federal government does… yes, Parks Canada. Canadians are proud of the national parks and national historic sites. But in the past six months, Stephen Harper and company have torn the parks service apart.
So here we are in little Annapolis Royal, in rural Nova Scotia, trying to build tourism in the area… trying to build our shoulder seasons – spring and fall. And in the latest budget cuts from the feds, what have they chosen to cut? The National Parks. In the Annapolis Royal area, a small community, two of our major attractions are National Historic Sites – Fort Anne and Port Royal.
Both these fabulous sites will now have a shorter operating season – shorter than other attractions in the area and shorter than most of the accommodations. Yes, the national parks and sites will be among the last things to open each season and the first things to close. How’s that for leadership in tourism?
If that isn’t bad enough, these sites (and many others) will be open 7 days a week only in the peak season of July and August. Outside of the peak season, they will be open only 5 days a week. Last time I checked, tourism was a 7 day a week business. But now travellers now will have to check with the national parks and sites to see what days of the week they are actually open. Oh yes, one more thing… just to make it more complicated, there will be no consistency in the closures – each site will decide which two days of the week they are closed. So travellers now have to actually check with EACH SITE they plan to visit to see if they will actually be open that day.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more bizarre, guess what? I understand Keji is among the parks that will be reducing their open days in the spring and fall. Now how do you close two days a week when you are in the camping business? Not easily…
Annapolis Royal and area. Tourism is a key industry. Two National Historic Sites within 7 miles. A National Historic Park only 40 minutes away. And all of them in a state of chaos. How does this help anyone else in the tourism industry? How many other attractions and businesses will now fail because of this insanity?
Is Nova Scotia Tourism concerned? They should be!
Is the Canadian Tourism Commission concerned? They should be!
Am I concerned? Hell yeah. The future of my Town in at stake here… and that makes me a very UNhappy Annapolitan.
Thanks Stephen Harper… we owe you one! We won’t forget!