UPDATED – Perth debates future of campground at Last Duel Park
Perth council is considering closing the Last Duel Park campground and repurposing the land as public space for residents and visitors, at the recommendation of staff.
“So the main issues, were raised at council a month ago by the campers themselves – the biggest one being the security down there. We don’t have security full time, 24/7 so there are many times when campers don’t have that protection,” Director of Community Services Shannon Baillon, told Lake 88.
In the 2019 season there were at least 10 instances where the OPP had to be called to the campground and all but two of those incidents occurred when staff were no longer on duty.
While security is the biggest concern, the reality is that the campground also sits in the floodplain and currently has thirteen sites situated right at the edge of the shoreline.
“As stewards of the land, we should consider relocating the shore sites and allowing natural vegetation to thrive, and rejuvenate the shoreline,” said Baillon.
Staff have looked at the some of the improvements that would need to take place at the campground to make it more viable.
Besides increased staffing levels, Baillon suggests that the town would need to invest a minimum of $215,000 in security gates, security gate software and card readers, a new dumping station and tank, renovate the washrooms and laundry facilities, add a kitchen and eating shelter and that’s just scratching the surface. The town would also have to increase annual operating costs by at least $50K plus for additional staffing.
“Security gates won’t be enough,” said Mayor John Fenik “The park is open on all sides, we’d have to build a wall around the entire park to ensure security.”
Operating the park with or without the campground has little financial impact on the town. Either way the park costs more to run than it generates in revenue. This year it cost the town $76,000 to operate the park with revenues coming in at $69,400. Without the campground it would cost the town $14,000 to operate the park with $7,000 in projected revenue from the public docks and boat launch.
Staff are recommending closing the campground at the end of this season.
“I certainly support the recommendation and that what we do with it is for further discussion, but we need to make the area available to every resident in Perth,” said Councillor David Bird.
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