Manitoba pays Texas firm $600K to run park pass program

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The province of Manitoba paid a Texas company more than $600,000 for provincial park vehicle passes and vendor commission fees.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/10/2021 (424 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The province of Manitoba paid a Texas company more than $600,000 for provincial park vehicle passes and vendor commission fees.

The NDP released figures that show the U.S. company the province contracted with to sell park passes online collected $558,145 for sales of the vehicle passes and took in $7,862 in commissions.

“Not a dime of that is staying in the province,” NDP MLA Lisa Naylor said in the house during question period Friday. “It’s not being invested in our parks,” said the member for Wolseley. “None of it’s going towards making our parks more affordable or accessible for people to enjoy.”

The government took its eye off the ball when case counts were low during the summer. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The Dallas-based reservation company collects an administration fee of $4.50 apiece for Manitoba park passes and fishing licences sold online.

RA Outdoors Ltd., operating as Aspira, was the service provider chosen through a tendering process. The $4.50 fee pays for services provided by Aspira including hosting and maintaining the site 24/7 and operating a toll-free information number.

Naylor asked why the government is sending revenue from park fees out of the province.

Sport Minister Cathy Cox shot back, saying the PC government has spent tens of millions of dollars on deferred maintenance at provincial parks that the NDP neglected when they were in power.

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