Going out of business plan
by Terry McQuitty
Only the rich will able to cruise the Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW) judging by the rate increases proposed by Parks Canada.
It is common knowledge that the TSW has been experiencing financial woes for quite some time and the federal government has asked them to come up with a plan to make the waterway more viable. The first step was to cut staff and operating hours. I guess the second step is a new fee structure.
The proposed new fee structure will be based on a coupon system. Locks will be graded with a service level and boaters will be required to pay two, three or four coupons depending on the service grade level of the lock. The coupons will be issued on a “per foot” basis and no seasonal coupons will be issued.
Rate increases are not limited to traversing the locks. Overnight mooring will increase from 90 cents a foot to $2 per foot. They have also proposed a daytime mooring fee of $1 per foot.
Imagine you wanted to take your 20 foot boat from the Liftlocks in Peterborough to Buckhorn, tie up at the locks and spend the night at one of the many resorts. You would have to pass through 10 locks all rated category one. This would require two coupons per lock with each coupon costing 30 cents per foot. This would be $6 per coupon and would require 20 coupons for the trip for a total cost of $120. The price to tie up for the day would total $20 and to stay over night would be $40. The total fee for a one way trip from the Liftlocks to Buckhorn including mooring fees would be $180.
After spending $180 to travel to Buckhorn and moor, how much money would the average person have to spend on food or products? Our local service providers and retailers will certainly feel the pinch.
If these proposed increases are meant to rectify the financial shortfall of the waterway, I’m afraid Parks Canada is mistaken. The overall take will be much less as the cost is extremely prohibitive.
This plan will result in economic disaster not only for the TSW, but for those businesses that rely on the waterway for their livelihood.
Copyright 2010 Lakefield Herald Ltd.
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