$5.5M in new funding for St. Lawrence Parks Commission

·2 min read

MALLORYTOWN – For the second time in less than a year, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission will receive a cash infusion from the provincial government.

Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod announced March 15th that the SLPC will get $5.5 million to spend on repairs, renovations, and operations.

The government agency received $7.1 million in funding mid-July 2020 to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operations.

“The St. Lawrence Parks Commission is a powerful economic generator for our province,” said MacLeod. “This funding will ensure that once it is safe to do so, the ‘Parks of the St. Lawrence’ will be ready to welcome guests and showcase how Ontario offers the world in one province.”

From the funding, the SLPC will spend $4 million on general repairs to its historic sites, attractions, and parks.

Engineering work for drinking water, sewage, and washroom projects will total $1 million.

Spring project spending of $327,500 on building repairs and upgrades will prepare the commission for opening for the 2021 season.

COVID-19 safety projects like barriers and signage will cost $121,000. The latter capital projects address compliance with current public health guidelines.

“SLPC plays a critical role in strengthening the tourism economy in Eastern Ontario,” said SLPC chair the Honourable Bob Runciman. “We are committed to protecting our dedicated workforce and ensuring we are ready to safely welcome back the people of Ontario to our historic sites, parks and attractions.”

He said the funding will allow the commission to maintain infrastructure and prioritize capital needs for the agency.

In a media release, the SLPC said it has begun planning for opening all historic sites, outdoor recreation facilities and parks for the 2021 season.

Last year, only some attractions and campgrounds opened as the tourism industry collapsed with restrictions on travel due to the pandemic. Campgrounds that were open began their season later than normal, and Upper Canada Village opened with restricted programming in mid-July 2020.

The SLPC began booking reservations for its campgrounds in late February this year. Among the attractions operated by the parks commission are UCV, Fort Henry, the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, and the Long Sault Parkway.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader