By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, February 13, 2014
Parks Canada buildings in worse shape than claimed: Internal report
Parks Canada’s crumbling forts, historical houses and other heritage structures are in much poorer shape than the agency estimates.
That’s the finding of an independent consultant asked to review a comprehensive inventory created by Parks Canada to determine how much repair work is needed for its varied infrastructure across the country.
The agency’s 2012 inventory found that 47 per cent of all its assets — from dams, bridges and roads, to old stone forts — are in poor or very poor condition.
But Opus International Consultants Ltd. said its own sampling of hundreds of assets pushed that overall level to 53 per cent. And so-called cultural assets — the historical houses, fortifications, locks and other heritage gems from Canada’s past — are in even worse shape.
Opus estimates 61 per cent of these 2,000 structures are in poor or very poor shape, compared with Parks Canada’s more rosy assessment of just 33 per cent.
“Results indicate that at the portfolio level the value of (Parks Canada) assets in poor condition has increased from condition reported in the 2012 National Asset Review,” says the Opus report, which cost taxpayers $316,000.
A copy of the Dec. 16, 2013, document was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
Parks Canada has come under fire in recent years for weak management of its real-estate portfolio, which includes historic canals and archeological sites, in addition to campgrounds, access roads and visitor centres. (Source: CBC News)