Pinery Provincial Park File photo.

Pinery Park Reopens After Unscheduled Closure

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey says Pinery Provincial Park is open for day use and hopefully for overnight camping by the weekend.

It had been closed since November 9 when Maynard T. George moved a trailer across the entrance, claiming it belonged to his great-grandfather’s descendants after doing exactly the same thing without results in 2014.

He has launched no legal claim, nor did he have the sanctioned support from nearby First Nations.

Bailey has issues with the government’s protocol when the word of one person can shut down a popular park.

“If it’s documented and there’s a legitimate claim and they go through the legal proceedings, that’s okay. But in this case there is no legal standing according to the Ministry of Natural Resources,” says Bailey. “Unfortunately, in this province, that’s the way we choose to deal with things that are outside the legal parameters. I have a big concern with it. The park’s a valuable resource, used by up to 600,000 people a year. It disrupts the local community and calls into question the business community’s investments.”

The Ministry of Natural Resources said the park lost over $20,000 in revenue since the closure started.

Bailey says he’ll be working closely with Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton to pressure the Liberal government to develop a plan to deal with groups or individuals who claim ownership to provincial lands, without any legal action or support from their governing bodies.