Could cottage leases make money for Ontario Parks?
There are still nine years left until 2017, the date that cottagers leasing in Rondeau and Algonquin Provincial Parks will have to vacate. In a Letter to the Editor of the Chatham Daily News, reader William Stephen Morpeth proposes a cottage leasing plan he says will bring the province additional annual revenue of $25 million. It requires bringing more cottages into the parks. That makes me uneasy.
And yet I have great sympathy for the park cottagers whose deep roots in the land are generations old. I get that these cottagers always knew they were on leases, and there’s no question that holding a lease carries the risk of impermanence. What I find sad is that the people who are being asked to leave have an intimate connection to the land; most of them have ecological footprints far smaller than the norm. Algonquin Park cottagers are the most notable environmental stewards: They live lightly in the park and their buildings are generally hidden from view—because they’re owned by people who want to disappear into the wilderness, not cause the wilderness to disappear.