Photo:Kawartha Tubing Facebook
TRENT LAKES- A petition against the use of a public area for a commercial tubing enterprise has garnered 125 signatures in less than a day. Numerous complaints have been posted recently about the venture on Facebook and Ontario Parks is now reconsidering how the site is used.
Kawartha Tubing just began offering lazy river tubing along the Mississauga River for approximately 1km in Kawartha Highlands Park earlier this summer. At the end of the run, there is a beautiful small waterfall where you can swim at one of the most spectacular spots in the Kawarthas according to the website. Tube rental tickets can be purchased for $12.50 per person.
It’s become a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike but that popularity may lead to it’s downfall.
There are complaints on Facebook about cars lined up along both sides of the highway near the entrance to the business. Some residents and former residents also take issue with a for-profit business making money from an Ontario Park.
Those are two of the main reasons Regan Doughty set up the petition on Change.org. She tells Kawartha 411, “My petition is out of concern for the traffic on the highway, it is such a busy road, doors opening up on the road so many drivers are concerned about the probability of an accident, also it is not safe for people to run across here.” Doughty and her family used to live in the area and she says they used the park for free. She is also concerned about spoiling such pristine environment. “My concern is also for the park itself. There was garbage littered throughout the park, alcohol being carried in. And the fact someone is using it for personal gain is very frustrating. It wasn’t designed for the huge numbers of people, or to accommodate that amount of parking.”
It appears officials are listening to concerns. The Kawartha Tubing website states that ticket sales have been “suspended” due to Ontario Parks limiting the number of tubes they could rent. That’s good news for Doughty. “As for the ticket sales being suspended, I am very happy about that. It feels that our voices are being heard. That a solution as well as safety are being considered and that is what we all should be really thinking of at this point.”
But she can’t figure out how the owners of Kawartha Tubing were permitted to set up operation in a Provincial Park in the first place. “While Kawartha Tubing is lining their pockets it is my opinion and many others, the park should getting the funds or a large portion of it to help maintain the park, provide shuttle to the park. Employ people to ensure the park is being used appropriately and that it is safe.” she told Kawartha 411.
Not everyone feels that way though. There are also many posts on Facebook from people who say they enjoyed their experience at Kawartha Tubing.
It’s unclear if or when ticket sales will resume. The company did not elaborate on the reasons for the move by Ontario Parks.