The NDP government should immediately tell Manitobans where millions of dollars have gone after the money disappeared from the parks infrastructure budget following huge fee hikes on cottage owners.
“Cottagers have always said they are willing to pay their fair share, but expressed fear the massive increases forced upon them are simply another NDP tax grab,” said Shannon Martin, Opposition Critic for Conservation and Water Stewardship. “It appears those fears are justified, as revealed by the NDP’s latest budget documents.”
In 2012, according to Estimates of Expenditures and Revenues, the total budget for parks infrastructure was $23.1 million. In 2015, that budget has plummeted to $14.9 million. This is a reduction of more than $8 million, or 35 per cent.
“Owners of intergenerational family cottages have faced fee increases of 250 to 750 per cent, which jeopardize their abilities to maintain them. Based on this latest information, we are renewing our call for the Selinger government to put a moratorium on cottage fee hikes for up to two years and to conduct a cost-of-service audit,” said Martin.
Under the Provincial Parks Act, the NDP is required to make clear exactly what fees are required to service cottage lots and to show how that money is spent. This has not been done for the majority of the NDP’s rule, including a 10-year gap in which Freedom of Information requests reveal the data does not exist.
When millions of dollars more are collected on one hand while less is spent on the other hand, it’s no surprise cottagers simply do not trust the NDP.