Smiths Falls’ Victoria Park to stay open until at least 2020.
Victoria Park campground will be staying open until at least 2020.
“This has been the culmination of a lot of good discussion,” said Jennifer Miller, manager, Economic Development and Tourism.
The campground is leased from Parks Canada and the town’s agreement with the agency expired at the end of 2018. Parks has made it clear that it would like to remove campground from all its waterways to give more people access to those areas. It’s a plan that is also echoed in Smiths Falls’ strategic plan of 2014, which set a goal of relocating the Victoria Park campground as part of the Waterfront Development Strategy.
The Smiths Falls and District Camber of Commerce has been operating the campground for the past 16 years, and relies on the modest revenues for continuing operations. However, it was a cost sharing arrangement between the town and the Chamber with the town heavily involved in the maintenance and administration of the campground.
“The new lease reduces town staff involvement,” said Miller.
Initially Parks Canada was only going to extend the lease for one more season – the 2019 season – but has now agreed to extend the lease to till the fall of 2020.
“I’m glad to see that the campers have some surety for this season and next,” said Councillor Jay Brennan.
The new lease also has a renewal clause that could see the agreement extended annually for another three years beyond 2020, under certain conditions.
“It we’re really far along in relocating it [the campground], they’d [Parks Canada] consider extending it to allow for a smooth transition,” said Miller.
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