It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often.
Plympton-Wyoming is now the owner of Lamrecton Camp on Egermont Road. The board of directors of the former United Church Camp has given the camp to the municipality under the condition it remain in public hands.
Lamrecton Camp opened its doors in 1926. It was originally run by the United Church of Canada, offering summer camps to children from around the region. The grounds are spread over several acres in a residential area stretching right to the shore of Lake Huron including about 100 feet of sandy beach.
Over 50 years ago, the United Church purchased what is now the Lambton Centre Camp near Forest and wanted to sell Lamrecton. But members of several area churches, including Camlachie United Church, felt there was still a use for the campground. It organized a board of directors to run the camp – hiring a couple of staff members to cook during the summer and take care of the grounds.
But the number of children going to summer camp dwindled and the board was losing money. So it decided to hand the camp over to the municipality.
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper is thrilled the town will now be the caretaker of the property. “It is a nice big piece of property,” says Napper. “We’re very excited about getting it and perhaps there will be another public access to the beach.”
Napper and council received the keys for the camp this month and went out to tour the grounds. He says some of the buildings are still in good shape but the cabins would need a “capital investment” if they were to stay.
All that is uncertain however. Napper says council wants to take its time to consider all the possibilities for the land.
“It is all up in the air,” he says. “Everyone has ideas, we need to sit down and have a session of council to talk about it. And we want to engage the people in the area…but council has all kinds of ideas….and we want to make something that is compatible to the area.”
For now, the gates have been locked for the year and town staff is considering when to have a public meeting on what sort of park might be created. “We’re all very open…all pretty agreeable come back with our ideas,” says Napper.
While the future use is unclear, Napper is sure he wants to honour the people who donated the camp to Plympton-Wyoming and allow people to say “farewell to Lamrecton.”
Napper hopes to hold a special ceremony next June, perhaps to unveil a stone with the history of the camp on it. “There are a lot of people who have a lot of memories of that park.”
And while Napper lays plans for honouring the past, he’s excited about the future of Plympton-Wyoming’s newest parkland. “We’re thrilled. Down in that area there is not a lot of public access to the beach and anytime you can gain green space along the lake it is a plus.
“Any time you can do to bring back God’s Creation in your control, I think you’ve gained something.”