Nova Scotia union campaigning against park changes, VIC closures

Published on March 5, 2015

The NSGEU has started a campaign against recent provincial decisions to change some park services, including those in Shelburne at Islands Provincial Park.

HALIFAX -The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union is campaigning against recently announced plans by the province to close two Visitor Information Centres (VICs) in Pictou and Digby, and to switch seven campgrounds to self service registration arrangements.

“In our view, these cuts unfairly target rural communities in Oakfield, Porters Lake, Digby, Pictou, Shelburne, Windsor, Guysborough, Country Harbour, and Whycocomagh. These jobs provide important seasonal employment that makes a difference to those communities, families, and local businesses,” said NSGEU President Joan Jessome.

 The cuts mean the loss of 58 seasonal staff positions: 38 from the parks and 20 from the Digby and Pictou VICs.

The plans have caused consernation across the province, including an angry response from Shelburne's mayor.

In a release, the union said that front line staff at parks and VICs provide important services that include convincing visitors to try new things and extend their stay in our province – word of mouth information and experience that cannot be replaced by machines or the internet.

“Nova Scotians are known for our friendliness and hospitality,” says Jessome. “Does the government really want to take the people out of the visitor experience and say to the rest of the world, “just Google it?”

Jessome wants the government to reconsider these decisions and their devastating impacts.  “These are seasonal jobs where employees not only lose their income but will also not qualify for EI,” she says. “We fear the impact of these job cuts on affected individuals, their families, and the economy of their local community will be irreversible.”