Pinery Provincial Park. Photo courtesy of @PineryProvPark via twitter.

MPP Wants Pinery Park Reopened Immediately

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton wants the governing Liberals and the OPP to reopen Pinery Provincial Park immediately.

The Grand Bend park has been closed since last Thursday, when a few individuals informed the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry of their intention to occupy and block access to the park.

McNaughton thinks provincial police and park staff should “properly and fairly enforce the law.”

“I am concerned that this is going to set a precedent across Ontario,” says McNaughton. “If individuals decide to bring in a trailer and park in front of our provincial parks and the government just turns around and closes them — it’s wrong.”

McNaughton says the trailer was empty and there were no protesters in sight when he visited the park a few days ago.

“I’ve come out quite clearly and bluntly and said that the Liberal government needs to address this,” he says. “I raised this issue back in 2014, when the same individual moved a trailer into the Pinery back then — which still remains vacant inside the park today — and of course we know the individual has moved a second trailer into the entrance. Back in 2014, the Liberal government wouldn’t even answer my letters and punted my questions to Parks Ontario. Clearly the province doesn’t want to deal with this.”

In 2014, Maynard T. George tried to reclaim the land, saying it belonged to his great-grandfather’s descendants.

McNaughton says park staff have told him the Pinery will be closed until at least November 20.

“The Pinery and Parks Ontario will reassess the situation at that point, but, I think it’s wrong when Pinery park staff and Parks Ontario kick law abiding, legitimate campers out of the park, because some individual decides to move a trailer on the outside of the park.”

Park officials have said in a statement that public safety remains their first priority and the park will remain closed to the public for camping and day use — including school trips — until further notice.