Future of Mooretown campground up in the air

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Heather Wright/The Independent

St. Clair Township staff say the Mooretown Campgrounds either needs a cash injection of up to $1 million or should be sold.

That in a report from the Director of Community Services Kendall Lindsay in a report to council May 1.

Mooretown is one of three campgrounds the municipality owns. During budget, council asked for an in-depth report on the campground next to the Moore Sports Complex knowing it was aging.

The director says Mooretown Campground has made money in nine of the past 10 years making between $20,000 and $56,000 between 2013 and 2019. In 2020, the township lost over $11,000 running the campsite primarily because of pandemic restriction.

In 2021 and 2022, the township increased the rental fees and the bottomline blossomed making $80,778 in 2021 and $82,782 in 2022.

But Lindsay, in his report to council, outlined a litany of problems which need a cash infusion including the replacement of the electrical system, estimated at a cost of $500,000, and upgrading washrooms to meet accessibility standards as well as replacing the pool on the grounds.

As the facility ages, Lindsay says there are other issues. It’s hard to find replacements for staff members who have retired and finding summer help is also difficult. Add into the mix the rising costs of running the grounds and Lindsay says it’s becoming difficult to keep the campground going.

“We have also increased our pricing 15 per cent over the last two years to try and combat the rising cost of operation, Lindsay writes. “These campgrounds are a strain on the Community Services Department as they get older and need more and more attention with less and less staff. We believe there is a way to keep all three campgrounds, but it is going to take commitment from township in restructuring how they operate and a reinvestment financially to revitalize their potential.”

Lindsay suggested either the municipality should invest up to $1 million into the campground or sell it and reinvest the money in the two other campgrounds.

“Branton-Cundick could be expanded to accommodate some of the campers we have at Mooretown. Recently there have been inquires about its availability,” he added.

Council didn’t discuss the report with Deputy Mayor Steve Miller saying the discussion should be moved to an in camera session, shielded from the public view.

Campground Facts

• 84 seasonal sites

• 57 transient sites

• 4 large camping cabins sleeps 5,

• 3 small camping cabins sleeps 4
• Campsite cost up to $3,000 per year with hydro