Letter: No special preference given for campsites says minister

Minister encourages readers to visit http://ow.ly/2T8830240Jv for the facts on our camping reservation system.

Re: MLA report July 13, Opinion Oak Bay News

In his column Andrew Weaver knowingly perpetuates misinformation about travel companies, which I would like to correct for your readers.

Commercial operators including tour companies make less than one per cent of the

bookings on the Discover BC camping reservation system. For the most part these companies book short stays of two days or less, with the majority occurring Sunday through Thursday. These bookings are also often in more remote areas of the province where demand for campsites is not a challenge.

The vast majority of people camping in our provincial parks are from British Columbia. Roughly three-quarters of all reservations are made by British Columbians.

Everyone is given access to the reservable campsite inventory at the same time. No one, including commercial operators, is given preferential treatment to reserve campsites and the system does not allow block campsite reservations.

I certainly understand the frustration people feel when they’re unable to secure a campsite in the more popular parks. We’re committed to increasing the number of campsites, and as well we always look at the reservation system to ensure it is fair for all.

And while I agree with Mr. Weaver that a broader conversation with British Columbians about our parks should and will happen, it is important that conversation be based on facts.

I encourage readers to visit http://ow.ly/2T8830240Jv for the facts on our camping reservation system.

Mary Polak

Minister of Environment