Ottawa’s Rideau Canal is one of seven sites Parks Canada wants an independent consultant to assess as the federal agency prepares its plan to deal with a massive maintenance backlog.Parks Canada issued a tender Monday (July 29) to have a consulting firm review its National Asset Review, completed last year, the Calgary Metro reported.

While that review is not yet public, details in the tender document reveal the agency is concerned with a growing backlog of maintenance and upkeep for culturally significant assets, as well as roads, bridges and dams under their jurisdiction.

“The agency has identified asset management as a key corporate risk, as under-investment has been a chronic issue for many years and has resulted in an exponential increase in the backlog of maintenance and recapitalization requirements,” the document reads.

Parks Canada estimates that the “replacement value” of its asset portfolio exceeds $15 billion, up from an estimated $7 billion to $11 billion in a 2009 audit.

In an emailed statement Monday, Parks Canada said the agency spent an average of $100 million a year on upkeep since 1999.

Parks Canada wants the consultant to make a number of site visits, including at the Rideau Canal, the Halifax Citadel and the Yoho National Park in British Columbia. In addition, the consultant would assess the agency’s methodology and results in their 2012 asset review.

NDP environment critic Megan Leslie applauded recent moves by the Conservative government on new national parks in Canada’s North and Nova Scotia’s Sable Island, but said sufficient resources have to be devoted to fulfilling Parks Canada’s expanded mandate.