City of Whitehorse takes over downtown campground, plans makeover

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After 25 years, Whitehorse campground operators pull up stakes

The City of Whitehorse is planning some upgrades to the Robert Service Campground, including renovations to the office and washrooms and construction of a new event facility.

The city takes over the operation of the downtown park this summer, after not renewing a lease with a private operator.

"The City of Whitehorse took a look at the future of the Robert Service Campground, and decided they just wanted to go in a different direction," said Doug Hnatiuk, manager of the city's parks and community development branch. 

"Certainly we see an opportunity here to be able to improve some of the infrastructure."

The campground with 68 sites on the Yukon River is designed for tent campers, and is popular for summer visitors and workers as it's within walking distance from the downtown core. 

Hnatiuk said there are no major changes planned for the next two summers, beyond a "bit of a facelift" for the washrooms and office. Otherwise, it will be "pretty much status quo, in terms of the operation."

New building for events

Eventually, the plan is to build a new facility, similar to the Frank Slims building in Shipyards Park.

"So that would have a concession opportunity, a hosting area, gathering area, washroom facilities — those type of things," Hnatiuk said.

The city doesn't expect to spend money, though. Hnatiuk said the campground's revenues and expenditures should "balance themselves out."

The park is open every summer from the Victoria Day weekend until Labour Day. Hnatiuk said campers can register for a spot on the city's website.

"It's been filling up fast, there have been a lot of inquiries, and a lot of pre-bookings," he said.