Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith has been appointed a special advisor for Ontario Parks.
On Thursday, the provincial government announced Smith will provide strategic advice to Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Rod Phillips on how to improve programs and increase revenue opportunities of Ontario Parks.
“Our government wants to make it easier for more Ontario families to enjoy our provincial parks,” said Phillips. “MPP Smith brings a unique perspective through his expertise in business management and program development, as well as being an active member of the Peterborough community.
“I look forward to working with MPP Smith on exploring the effectiveness of our Ontario Parks program to expand access to parks and recreational activities across the province.”
WATCH: Minister of the Environment presents Ontario’s climate change plan without a carbon tax
Smith’s work will help the target outlined in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to protect the natural environmental along with increasing the number of Ontarians visiting provincial parks by 10 per cent — or approximately 1 million more visitors.
“Provincial parks belong to the people of Ontario and to visitors, for their inspiration, education, health and recreation,” stated Smith.
“I look forward to working with staff to ensure that our parks remain a vital contributor to Ontario’s economy, and continue to make Ontario a must-visit tourist destination.”
The province manages and protects 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves, totaling more than 9.8 million hectares, or nine per cent of the province.
“Promoting parks and increasing recreational opportunities is part of the government’s made-in-Ontario environment plan to protect our air, land and water, prevent and reduce litter and waste, support Ontarians to continue to do their share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help communities and families increase their resilience to climate change,” the ministry stated.
“The plan will help protect the Ontario we know and love, ensuring that its pristine beauties and strong communities can be enjoyed now and in the future.”
As Special Advisor for Ontario Parks, Smith will not be remunerated, but will be reimbursed for eligible expenses incurred in accordance with the government’s Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive.