Chestermere’s recent decision about charging fees to non-residents to use their local beaches has had a big impact on the Bow Valley residents and some regular visitors.
On social media, locals have expressed their concern about the lack of respect for the environment and the extra costs that will need to be covered in order to keep our parks clean because the Town of Canmore will have to decide who will be paying to solve that problem: Canmore residents thought more taxes, visitors or both.
After weeks of seeing their parks and hiking trails in Canmore and Kananaskis getting extremely busy, on Bow Valley Network Facebook group, many locals are not ignoring what Chestermere is doing, and they are showing their support to the idea of charging fees in the congested areas while others strongly disagree with the idea.
For some people Canmore is already expensive and its economy would have negative impacts because there would be less tourism/consumers due to the extra fees in parks and hiking trails. Also, some people point out that there are many locals who hold minimum wage jobs so they cannot afford any extra fees. Others see benefits for charging fees such as additional funding to pay for extra cleaning in the busiest spots in Canmore (parks, hiking trails, lakes and playgrounds). This would eventually pay for more bylaw officers to enforce the local regulations and restrictions regardless COVID-19 pandemic.
Charging fees for local attractions is for sure a debate that is very far for being over. Social media platforms have been full of posts and comments about this issue and some Bow Valley residents see this situation as a good start to think about the kind of tourism we want in Canmore. It is time to talk if we want environmentally sustainable tourism or just tourist\business friendly.