Study Assesses Campground’s Economic Impact
The city of Peterborough, Ontario, should continue to operate Beavermead Campground and spend money to upgrade the camping area, say consultants who reviewed the costs and benefits of the service.
Using information from surveys done by campers, the consultants estimated that each group or individual spent that occupied a campsite spent on average $66 per night at businesses in the community, the Peterborough Examiner reported.
With the occupancy level of 23% this year, campers generated about $231,000 of economic impact in the community, the consultants said Wednesday night (Oct. 19) at a public meeting at the Naval Association.
“It really is acting as an economic generator, an economic boost to the community overall.” Jon Linton, with TCI Management Consultants
The city council asked for the review to determine whether the city land should continue to be used for camping; what improvements should be made to the campground and its operations if the city continues to provide the service; or how the land should be used if the city closes the campground.
A report will go to the city’s arenas, parks and recreation advisory committee on Nov. 14.
Linton shared that the recommendation will be for the city to continue to operate the park, to upgrade the campground, including the washroom, and to increase fees by 10%.
He commented that the occupancy rate of 23% last season is below the normal occupancy level of 40% to 50% for campgrounds.
Linton pointed to the $500 spent on marketing for last camping season, adding it could be increased to $10,000 to help attract campers.
With a 23% occupancy level at Beavermead’s 98 sites between May and October, the campground expenses were about $180,000 and the revenue was about $182,972, Linton said.
Linton said that if the city increased fees by 10%, increased the marketing budget to $10,000, increased the occupancy rate to 33%, increased staffing by 50% to handle the growth and increased other costs by 33%, the city could make a profit of $44,000 with $318,000 in revenue and $274,000 in expenses.
Along with the profit to the city, the improved campground with increased occupancy would generate $335,000 in economic spinoff in the community, he said.
Fred Barker, a seasonal camper at Beavermead, said the city should add sewage hookups at its serviced sites and improve lighting in the campground.
“To make money, you’ve got to spend money,” he said after the meeting. “There’s lots of ways they can make money if they want to look at it close enough.”
Other people commented in the meeting that the campground staff was excellent last season and suggested the city should improve the washrooms, add kayak and canoe rentals, improve the campsites and add a splash pad at the park for children.