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Ontario City May Exit Campground Business

March 19, 2008 by   - () Leave a Comment

The Peterborough, Ontario, City Council is willing to keep Beavermead Park campground open this year, but several council members are leaning toward pulling the municipality out of the camping business following the season.
It’s a valuable and beautiful property, Councilwoman Ann Farquharson said shortly before the council endorsed the city taking over management of the campground for a one-year trial period, according to the Peterborough Examiner. However, she added at Monday’s (March 17) council meeting, “I don’t think the city should be in the camping business. I don’t think that’s the best utilization of that property for the benefit of the whole community.”
The council will get a chance to reconsider how to use the property after the camping season.
City staff will collect information on the use of the campground over the summer then report back to the council. The council will get another chance to consider the issue at its regular meeting on March 25.
The city has operated Beavermead campground through third-party contractors since 1994, but went through three contractors in the last two years.
Before the beginning of the camping season last year, the city rushed to find an operator when the company that managed the property for about six years pulled out of its agreement one year before the contract was set to expire. Then the city, citing payment problems and complaints from campers, replaced the newly hired operator near the end of July.
Staff projects it will cost the city $121,500 to run the campground this year. Revenues from camping sales could range from $93,000 to $123,000, which could result in anything from a $28,500 deficit to a $1,500 surplus, staff state.
In addition, the city would use $50,000 to upgrade the campground washrooms and help fund the operation of the facility.
The campground has 97 sites — 50 served with electricity and water and 47 undeveloped sites.
Maybe it’s time to be bold and see what other opportunities there are for the use of the riverfront property, Councilman Bob Hall said.
“I question us being in the business of campground management and operations,” he said.

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