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Beavermead Campground Earns High Marks in Study

November 16, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Peterborough, Ontario’s Beavermead Campground — one of the only places in Canada where campers can call and order pizza to be delivered right to their tents — is a good value for the city, say the consultants who polled campers over the summer.

But they couldn’t compare it to other similar camping areas in Canada — because there aren’t any, the Peterborough Examiner reported.

“It’s unique,” said Jon Linton of TCI Management Consultants of the campground located in the heart of Peterborough, 90 miles northeast of Toronto.

“People see the camping experience as unique.”

Linton and Donna Hinde, of The Planning Partnership, presented a report on the Little Lake camping area to the city’s arenas, parks and recreation committee Tuesday night (Nov. 15).

Without Beavermead, they said, many visitors to the city would choose to camp somewhere else.

The committee voted to receive the report and send it on to city council, which will look at it in January.

Linton said his study determined the Beavermead Campground, which was run by private operators under contract to the city until recently, spent $182,395 in 2011 and brought in $182,235. He called it a “break-even” operation. There are a total of 98 sites with 52 sites that have hookups to water and electricity.

There were some negative comments in the surveys, but not many, he told the committee.

“Far and away, the majority had nothing but positive things to say about Beavermead,” he said.

The campground has been performing better since the city reassumed control of it, he said.

The campground generates more revenue citywide, with the average campsite sparking $66 in daily spending in the city.

This added up to more than $231,000 in spending in Peterborough during the most recent camping season (May 6 to Oct. 10), he said.

The study, which involved surveys of campers and an online survey of local residents, determined that more than 80% of campsite users come from out of town.

They have access to weekend entertainment and activities, said Mary Gallop, the city’s facilities and special projects manager.

But there’s room for improvement, the committee heard. Respondents were critical of the campground’s bathrooms and showers, and issues of security and privacy were raised.

These can be addressed efficiently, Linton said.

The survey determined a 10% increase in the price of camping would not only generate more revenue for the city, but would allow for new washrooms, a new gatehouse and a security fence along the western side of the campground, which borders the soccer fields at Beavermead Park.

“Adding more serviced sites would also boost usage,” he said.

Hinde described suggested plans for new plantings on the campsite to improve privacy, and showed drawings of a new gatehouse.

“It would really become a more iconic building in the campround,” she said.

Campers would pay the extra price knowing the improvements were being made, Linton said, citing the survey.

The report also calls for better links between the campground and downtown businesses..

The improvements, he added, would also boost the use of the campground, which had a 22% occupancy in 2011 — much lower than the industry standard of 40% to 50%.

His calculations, he added, indicate the campground could generate $8,600 in economic impact for every 1% increase in occupancy.

Community services director Ken Doherty said if the city approves the plan to keep the campground running, a special reserve fund would be set up to use proceeds from the park to pay for improvements.

The review of the campground is part of the city’s Little Lake master plan process.

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