Pincher Creek council considers setting up camp

·2 min read

During Pincher Creek council’s Dec. 14 meeting, Bob Cameron, a consultant with Stream Data Systems, asked the town to consider entering into a managing agreement with the province to maintain nearby campgrounds.

In March, the provincial government announced plans to close 20 provincial parks (17 of which have now closed) and explore third-party management options for another 164 parks and recreation sites.

Three sites highlighted by Mr. Cameron were Castleview, Cottonwood and Lundbreck Falls.

“You people have the nicest campgrounds to visit and also the longest season, so you’re ideally situated,” said Mr. Cameron. “But right now you can’t find them online.”

Using Stream to advertise and book reservations for campgrounds that currently use the honour system, he continued, would bring economic benefit if the town assumed management from the province. Even though none of the sites were within the town’s jurisdiction, managing alongside the MD of Pincher Creek would be easy to arrange.

Mr. Cameron estimated the campgrounds would generate $7,200 per day; as part of a 100-day season, the annual $225,000 subscription to Stream would be readily covered, though additional costs for electricity and drinking water would need to be accounted for.

Local management over the campgrounds would be advantageous since the current provincial registration system regularly experiences backlogs, often resulting in empty campsites being unavailable to campers because the cancelled reservation takes time to process.

Coun. Lorne Jackson agreed that unclaimed reservations are an issue that needs addressing.

“With regards to how the reservation system doesn’t work, you’re preaching to the choir with me,” he said.

“I got so frustrated with it half a dozen years ago that I started renting a leased site along the Waterton River there at Blue Trail RV because I just got tired of seeing campsite after campsite empty for two or three days and just a shrug from the operators.”

Issues of expanding sites and attracting campers, Mr. Cameron added, would best be handled locally.

“I would hope that those decisions are made by the town, not by people in Edmonton, because it can have an adverse effect on the businesses. These are potential customers,” he said.

A decision on the proposal will be discussed next month.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze