Provincial Picnics at Fort DeSoto
Posted date : Nov 13, 2017.
Dear Bird Talk:
For a number of years, we have attended and enjoyed the Prince Edward Island picnic held annually at Fort DeSoto Park in Florida. We understand that the Canadian Snowbird Association, and we believe Medipac Travel Insurance, sponsor this fun day (and other provincial picnics), so we are writing to you regarding a real concern we have about the recent newspaper stories indicating that Pinellas County officials are seriously considering a $5 per vehicle charge to enter their parks.
We already pay two road tolls en route to Fort DeSoto and do not object to that, but it would seem to us that this effort has the potential to “fleece” Canadian snowbirds when we already support Florida financially, especially Pinellas County.
We recognize that these are particularly tough economic times for everyone, but surely Pinellas County should recognize that discouraging tourists in this way could have a very detrimental impact on the amount of travel and length of stay for each person. It is our understanding that the volunteer organizers of this event pay $500 just to rent a shelter in the park. We always see in excess of 800 “islanders” at this event; thus considering there are about 350-400 vehicles or more entering the park, this would cost an additional $1,700-$2,000 for an afternoon of fun. In our opinion, this is most unreasonable and we respectfully request your intervention in an attempt to get the word out to all concerned about this unfair taxation.
Remember, too, we also pay annual property taxes to Pinellas County, plus state taxes on all our purchases including dining, retail, fuel, etc. Although we enjoy our winters in the sun, perhaps it is time that we (and many others) reconsider the cost of wintering in Florida.
Thank you for anything you can do to help us avoid this unfair expense.
Ed.: You will be pleased to know that the CSA Board of Directors discussed this issue at length and, as a result, CSA President Bob Slack sent a letter of concern in July to each commissioner in Pinellas County prior to the vote being taken. We also noticed an article in the St. Petersburg Times noting the CSA’s opposition.
We are pleased to advise that a decision was made by Pinellas County commissioners not to proceed with the extra fee at this time. I am sure that all our “Gulf Coast” snowbirds will appreciate their reconsideration of this proposed new fee. We are hopeful that this issue can now be put to rest.