The following has been written and contributed by Duane Storey
I was just up at Cultus Lake, a provincial park near Chilliwack, British Columbia, booking a campground for this coming weekend. Prices last year at this location were $24/night, and didn’t include any wood or extra perks that used to be included back in the 90s. For two nights of camping, the final bill for this trip came to $60, a $12 increase since last year.
When I asked what the nature of the increase was, the girl at the booth told me it was due to the HST. There are two obvious problems with that.
First, a $6 increase on a $24 price amounts to a 25% increase. As we all know, HST isn’t 25%, so I really don’t understand how they are justifying the cost increase. The second concern is that it’s not July 1, so technically nobody should be charging HST on anything that isn’t delivered after July 1st. Given that my camping trip will be over by then, charging HST on the amount isn’t allowed based on my understanding of the HST.
I haven’t looked at my receipt to see if the HST is a line item, but if it is, rest assured I’ll be officially complaining. Regardless, going from $24/night to $30/night is a pretty big price increase, far more than simply an adjustment to take into account inflation over the last year.
It’s unfortunate, because $60 for a weekend is more money than a lot of people and families can afford. We’ve already seen hockey essentially become a rich man’s sport in Vancouver over the last few 10 years, and it’s disappointing that access to the outdoors is following that same route.
I have no problem paying enough money to ensure that the system is sustainable, but given that you have to pay for parking at a lot of lakes that used to have free access, a 25% price increase in a single year for camping seems like nothing more than old fashioned price gouging.
Duane Storey is a blogger, photographer and business owner based in Chilliwack, BC
Sound off: How do you feel about the affordability of camping in BC?