Ontario Campground's Future Debated Today
Beavermead Campground in Peterborough, Ontario, is underutilized, but still managed to break even on its budget last year without any subsidy from taxpayers and generate almost $210,000 in spending in the community, a study of the city-owned facility found.
The study goes to city council’s committee of the whole meeting today (Jan. 23) with a recommendation that the city continue to operate the campground that’s part of Beavermead Park on Ashburnham Drive.
Peterborough is a city of 71,000 located northeast of Toronto.
The council had asked staff to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the campground to help it make the decision whether the city should continue to operate the facility, the Peterborough Examiner reported.
It has been a contentious item for the council at times, with some councillors arguing that the city shouldn’t be in the campground business and others arguing that the campground next to Little Lake is a gem for the city.
Before last year’s break-even budget, the campground had operating losses of $29,842 in 2010, $19,077 in 2009 and $41,339 in 2008, with the city covering the shortfall. The campground’s total budget has fluctuated between about $145,000 and $185,000 in the last four years.
The council will have to weigh those levels of shortfalls against the estimated spending in the community by the people who come from out of town to stay at the campground — and against the eventual need to build a new gatehouse and a new washroom facility, which could cost the city about $1.5 million, according to a preliminary estimate.
Councillor Keith Riel wants the city to spend money on upgrading the facilities at the campground.
“This could be an economic driver,” he said. “It can be something that will bring people to Peterborough.”
Riel stressed that it would be a long-term plan.
The campground has been neglected for a long time, Riel said, adding the city needs to spend money at the campground to make money.
Beavermead Campground operated at 22 percent of its capacity last year, generating an estimated $208,000 in spending in the community by people who used the campground, consultants who reviewed the city-owned facility found.
Based on the results from a survey on how much campers spent in the community, the consultants projected economic spinoff based on various occupancy levels at Beavermead Campground.
If the occupancy grew to 33 percent, spending in the community would climb to $265,435. At 40 percent occupancy, economic spinoff would reach $321,739. Campers would spend an estimated $402,174 in the community at 50 percent occupancy.