BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Traffic moves along a section of Highway 10 through Riding Mountain National Park on Sunday afternoon.
The bumpy ride along Highway 10 through Riding Mountain National Park could benefit from a slice of the 2014 federal budget.
Traffic moves along a section of Hwy. 10 through Riding Mountain National Park on Sunday afternoon. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The Conservative government has allocated $391.5 million over five years to improve roadways, bridges and dams located in Parks Canada national parks and historic sites. However, that doesn’t mean roadways through RMNP will be receiving repairs anytime soon.
"It is difficult because we are competing with parks like Banff and Jasper," Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette Conservative MP Robert Sopuck said. "It is high on my priority list and when I saw the budget I went and talked to the powers that be."
Unfortunately for Highway 10 users, the fine print in the 2014 budget states that $1 million will be used this fiscal year and $4 million in 2014-15. The rest will be spread throughout the following three years.
For Parks Canada, that means the bulk of the money will not be accessible until after the next election.
"Right now the budget is in the treasury board stage," Sopuck said. "Sometime this summer that should finish and we will know more about where the money will be spent."
But Sopuck ensures he is "pushing as hard" as he can.
The rough road conditions through the park may also be deterring visitors to Dauphin, according to Dauphin and District’s Chamber of Commerce president.
"We consider ourselves to be a tourist destination and that road is not something people want to drive on to get to us," Alyson Sametz said. "The highway is in terrible condition and just needs to be repaired.
"With the new tourism slogan being ‘Canada’s Heart Beats’ it would be beneficial to see some improvement on major tourism routes."
Although Parks Canada has yet to release any information in regards to where they would like to see the money spent, they have indicated they’ll be ready to make repairs once funds are available.
"Parks Canada is aware of the public and visitor interest in repairs to Highway 10 through the park and has taken the necessary planning steps to begin work on the highway should specific funding be made available," a RMNP spokesperson told the Sun via email.
» Twitter: @megan_lane2
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 21, 2014