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12 January 2013

New Fees proposed for Federal Canals (updated)

Rideau canal lock
Updated January 19, 2013

Parks Canada is proposing a fee structure for parks and heritage canals that is confusing, complicated and much more expensive (2 to 4 times more than 2012) across the board.

Proposed mooring fees will take effect in 2013 and lockage fees will take effect in 2014.

In the past, boat traffic through canals has dropped significantly after fee increases, and this proposed increase will definitely have the same effect. Why are they continuing to repeat the same mistakes? Improving boat traffic requires simple promotion, but staff cuts and fee increases does the opposite. The public must fight back.

(Fees for a 30-foot boat are shown in brackets.)

A completely new (and confusing) fee system proposed for locking uses tickets. One ticket costs $.30 per foot of boat ($9), but you need 2 tickets for the smallest locks ($18), 3 for larger locks ($36), and 4 tickets ($48) for multiple locks.

In 2012, each lockstation was $0.90/ft ($27), a 6-day pass $5.05/ft ($151.50), and transiting the entire canal one-way $4.65/ft ($139.50). Seasonal lock passes were $8.80/ft ($264).  Mooring (overnight) was $0.90/ft ($27), with annual dock passes $9.80/ft ($294).

The proposed fees for 2013/2014 list no annual passes, usually used by local and boats cruising both Rideau and Trent canals. It's hard to imagine why this has been eliminated. The fee increase is so ridiculous, it will kill this type of canal use.

I counted 40 tickets ($360) to transit the Rideau Canal from Ottawa to the Rideau Lakes and another 20 ($180) including the Narrows lock down to Kingston. That 60 tickets would cost our 30-footer $540 to transit the canal.  Assuming the fees are one-way, a whopping $1080 for a return trip. And don't forget to add fuel plus overnight docking of $60 each night.

Here are a few samples:
  • Lock tickets $0.30/ft ($9)
  • Lock tickets online $0.23/ft ($6.90)
  • Lock tickets commercial $0.60/ft ($18)
  • Mooring fees $2/ft ($60)
  • Mooring day fee $1/ft ($30)
  • Mooring power hookup $13/night
  • Heritage presentations $88.75/hr
  • Rent outdoor shelter $50/day
  • Use of grounds $100/hr
Commercial fees will be 10 to 20 times greater than last year. Tour boats will leave the canal or go bankrupt. Parks Canada suggested percentage of receipts, not understanding that tour boats cost much more to equip and operate than a tour bus.

Email your comments to Parks Canada at from Jan. 11 to Feb. 18, 2013 only to comply with the official User Fees Act.

Will the last boater leaving the canal please close the lock gate.

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Heritage canals affected: Rideau Canal, Trent Severn Waterway, Chambly Canal, Carillon Canal, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal, Lachine Canal, St-Ours Canal.

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At January 14, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about getting hosed/screwed one more time by harper and his obnoxious pet polieverre


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