Driftwood Park to be spun off by province
BY TIM RUHNKE
The future of Driftwood Provincial Park is once again in doubt.
The Ministry of Natural Resources announced last week that it is seeking a partnership agreement to maintain operations at the park located between Mackey and Stonecliffe.
The regional superintendent of parks in the Mattawa-Pembroke corridor said Driftwood will open this season even if a partner is not found. But John Drechsler also told the NRT that there are no assurances that would be the case next year.
Driftwood is one of a dozen parks across Ontario that the ministry is hoping will continue to operate with the same standards found in MNR- run facilities. Drechsler explained that the same rules, regulations and fees in place throughout the system would be retained at places like Driftwood.
However, there are limits to what the ministry will accept as a partner. Municipalities, conservation authorities, first nations, service groups and local not-for-profit groups are listed as being acceptable partnership agencies.
The Townships of Head, Clara & Maria was advised of the ministry's plan early last week. Townships council held a special meeting Friday to decide if the municipality would be willing to manage Driftwood this season.
It did not take long for council to conclude that it had no interest in entering into such a partnership. Councillor Bill Croshaw pointed out that there are a number of trailer parks and lodging facilities in the municipality that would have to be taken into account.
"We would be competing against our own people," he said.
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"And that would be wrong."
Acting reeve Jim Allison agreed, adding that council would be "cheating" its taxpayers if it put any money into the Driftwood venture.
The resolution approved by council also notes that there is not enough time to study the issue before the park would open this season. The municipal budget has been passed and there would be limited funds available, the resolution states.
The prospects of breaking even are also doubtful, according to the municipality. Clerk-treasurer Diane Beauchamp said figure provided by the ministry show.