New FOI Release — BC Parks Staffing Levels
April 4th update: The Corporate Information and Records Management Office, Ministry of Finance has told me that they would like to provide a revised set of numbers. I will provide an update when I receive one.
What should the staffing levels at BC Parks be? What are they currently?
The picture of what is going on inside BC Parks is very murky. The BC Parks annual report for the 2015/2016 year (which ended over one year ago on March 31st 2016) has not yet been released. I’ve asked for the report and have received an official response that: “BC Parks has been focused on implementation of the Parks Futures Strategy”.
One number that has been released is the park visit numbers. They jumped an unprecedented 2.4 million visits in a single year. Across BC, park visitors took notice of the lack of staffing and the impact that it is having.
An announcement has been made in recent months that 25 new rangers will be hired but what does that mean? How many rangers were cut in previous years? How many rangers per park visit does that represent?
In an attempt to get some additional clarity, I made an FOI request. The response method was not very precise but it does help to shine some light on these questions.
One concern for me is about the direct and indirect costs of a period of downsizing followed by a mass-hiring. How much institutional knowledge was lost and how long will it take for new hires to be onboarded? Another concern is how small of a dent the new hires will make given the scale of the downsizing over the years and the continued growth in park visitor numbers.
See below and let me know what you think.