An Open Letter to Ontario Parks…

Open Letter

Hi John,

I’ve been coming to Rondeau for 44 years and the maintenance of the park is far worse now than it’s ever been before. Hard to believe, but it looks even worse than during the OPSEU strikes in 1996 & 2002 when absolutely NO maintenance was done for months. It’s almost as if the superintendent doesn’t care how his park looks to Ontario’s taxpayers & visitors. The condition of the park is shameful.

But besides the shabby appearance of the park in general, I wish to bring a serious public safety concern to your attention.

There are significant view obstructions at most intersections. Thick weeds & low tree branches overhang the roads in many places. There is absolutely no run-off allowance where a bicycle could safely dodge a car if necessary. There are several locations where fallen tree branches stick out to the edge of the pavement, which will cause a pedestrian to trip or a bicyclist to fall. Former park superintendent Rick Hornsby told me that he was required to keep an unobstructed grass strip mowed on both sides of the park roads; has this rule changed or is Mr Post simply not complying with it?

Please refer to the photos above, taken from my vehicle northbound on Lakeshore Road. (The Visitor Centre is to my left, the lake & former boat launch is to my right.) Last week I very nearly struck a woman in a wheelchair coming around this bend. I came to a full stop at the stop sign and proceeded northbound through the intersection at a very slow speed. There was oncoming traffic so I had to stay to the right. As I rounded the curve (at half the 40km/h limit) all of a sudden there was a wheelchair right there in front of me. I had to jam on my brakes as did she. There was absolutely no way to see her above the tall weeds and the turn is sharp enough there was literally no warning before she was right in front of me. Had I been going the speed limit I surely would have struck her.

That lady in a wheelchair could easily have been a mother pushing a stroller, or a child on a bike (who might have been going much faster.) Sometimes children and the handicapped use Rondeau’s roads too.

These weeds must be trimmed back for safety’s sake. It is only a matter of time before someone is struck & injured as a result of these view obstructions. And when that happens, I will forward this date-stamped email to their family’s lawyer and a judge can decide if Ontario Parks, John Salo, and Rick Post took adequate preventative action based on my warning.

This time it’s not about cottages or leases or the park’s selective enforcement of rules — it’s about the safety of all visitors to a park that seemingly doesn’t care about people anymore.

Brian K. French
RCA Vice-President