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Cottage Lease Extensions for Algonquin Park. - November 2012

The Liberal govt. is considering extending private cottage leases in Algonquin Park for another 21 years until 2038.  There are a total of 326 cottages.

The cottages were originally introduced to Algonquin in the 1920s to offset a provincial $15 million dollar deficit. The leases are being extended today for the same reason. 

Rondeau and Algonquin Provincial Parks are the only parks in Ontario that allow private cottages.

The issue of private cottages in provincial parks has always been contentious because cottage owners tend to be wealthy and have privileged and subsidized access to an otherwise public resource.

What is unusual about this proposal is that the Liberal govt. is separating cottage lease agreements between Rondeau and Algonquin Park. Usually, renewals are proposed for both parks together.

Private cottages have been more contentious in Rondeau Park because cottagers have transformed the fragile sand dune beach habitat into a massive subdivision with stately cottages, manicured front lawns and four door garages  

It has always been presumed that cottages in Algonquin Park have a lighter ecological footprint, and therefore people have been more tolerant of cottages in Algonquin.

But this is not true.  The only difference between Rondeau cottages and the ones in Algonquin Park is road access.

Cottages in Algonquin Park use generators for electricity, have motor boats, introduce non-native species, have lawns, gardens, sceptic tanks and can build onto their cottages making them bigger and bigger.  They can be rented, generating revenue for the owners and the owners have private access to one of the province’s most beloved provincial parks.

The new lease conditions limit some of these negative attributes but it fails to address the core issue – that of private ownership of a public resource.

If adopted, the Liberal govt. will likely extend the same offer to Rondeau cottage leaseholders and we will never have these two provincial parks returned to the public.

You can read the full proposal here:

1. Private Cottage Leases in Algonquin Provincial Park: A Policy Proposal (2012) http://web2.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Parks/MNR-450BN-2012-1493-Proposal.pdf

2. Algonquin Provincial Park - A Brief History of Cottage Lease Policy (2012) http://web2.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Parks/MNR-450BN-2012-1493-History.pdf

Send Your Comments to:

Rob Davis, Manager
Ministry of Natural Resources
Policy Division, Natural Heritage, Lands and Protected Spaces Branch
Parks and Protected Areas Policy Section
300 Water Street
Peterborough Ontario, K9J 8M5
Phone: (705) 755-5216
Fax: (705) 755-1701
Email: Rob.Davis@ontario.ca

EBR # 011-7289

EBR Registry http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/

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