October 26, 2016 10:43 am
Updated: June 14, 2017 6:43 pm

More than a quarter of B.C. camping reservations booked out of province

Have you had trouble booking a campsite through B.C.'s online reservation system?

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The number of camping reservations in B.C. has been steadily on the rise, but so have the number of reservations made from outside the province.

One in every four camping reservations is made from either another province, the U.S. or overseas according to data obtained by CKNW.

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But Minister of Environment Mary Polak says the number is smaller than most think.

“The reaction of British Columbians when I tell them that about 3/4 of the reservations are British Columbians, people find that fairly acceptable.”

She says the real issue is supply, not regulation.

 

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Polak says staff are currently reviewing how many sites can be added to the reservation list and how many could be created.

The Ministry of Environment was under fire this summer as people called their reservation system “unfair”” and complained about the lack of sites available for B.C. residents.

But Chilliwack Councillor Sam Waddington says something has to change.

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“The challenges aren’t going to be addressed until we build more campsites, until we expand the inventory. Looking at fairness is an important piece, but cutting down a few people scalping tickets here and there, or dropping the percentage from 25 to 20 if we want to regulate the industry is only going to solve the problem with a temporary Band-Aid solution.”

READ MORE: More campsites needed to deal with huge spike in demand, says Environment Minister

The number of campsites in the past two years has remained the same while demand has increased by almost 40 per cent.

“When we look at what true number means, you know, what does that mean for the infrastructure in the parks? I think that is the biggest factor for me. Has our parks funding increased compared to the usage.”

He says none of the challenges can be addressed until the Ministry of Environment can meet the demand.

 

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