Council approves campground repairs
Black Diamond: Town supports Lions Club in restoration of camp sites and grounds
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 08:18 am
The Town of Black Diamond is giving a service organization the green light to clean a local campground devastated by the flood with the expectation the provincial government will cover the costs.
Council voted unanimously at its regular meeting on Aug. 7 to authorize the Foothills Lions Club to be in charge of restoration work for the south end of the Black Diamond Lions Campground. It’s estimated the work will cost $35,000 to complete.
The club will invoice the Town for costs incurred and the Town will apply to the provincial Disaster Recovery Program for costs that aren’t covered by insurance.
About a third of the 68-site campground was destroyed when the Sheep River flooded its banks June 20. The office and two outdoor kitchens were destroyed and they majority of picnic tables and fire rings were destroyed in the flood.
Coun. Diane Osberg voted in favour of the motion, but told council she would feel more comfortable knowing the $35,000 will be covered by the Province before giving the club the go-ahead.
“We should find out whether or not we are going to get that kind of money in recreational use when there are so many people who need money from the province,” she said.
However, coun. Judy Thomson and mayor Sharlene Brown said they are confident the money will be covered by the Province.
Although the Sheep River eroded about two acres of the northern portion of the campground in the flood, damage to the southern portion is minor and the club hopes to have as many as 30 sites operating shortly.
A list of necessary repairs complied by the club includes cleaning septic and water supply lines, installing electrical panels and pedestals, replacing damaged breakers, outlets, switches, water metres and washroom fixtures. Other repairs include cleaning up debris, grading sites, power sweeping grassy areas and replacing lost fire pits and picnic tables.
A trailer will also be placed in the campground to serve as a temporary office.
“There’s a lot of trees and debris that had come from upstream that needs to be cleaned out,” said Brown. “We’re making it safe, moving debris and taking out whatever electrical panels and pieces that were still left.”
Foothills Lions Club president James Lee said he is happy with council’s decision and wants the campground to remain at its current location, despite the Sheep River’s potential to flood again.
“I don’t see any reason to move,” he said. “I think with some remediation along the river that it will be sustainable.”
Lee said work has been in progress to clean up the south end of the campground for weeks. If the clean-up is complete before the camping season ends on the Thanksgiving weekend, as many as 30 sites could be open for business. He said seasonal campers will have first choice.
“Everything is contingent on getting the electrical installed,” he said, adding new pedestals are being installed offering 20, 30 and 50 amp service for recreational vehicles.
Lee said the club is holding off on repairing the northern portion of the campground until they hear the government’s plan to protect communities with property lying in floodways and flood fringe areas.
“There is a lot riding on what the minister of environment says to put forward for the actual river itself – what their strategy is,” he said. “Everything we do is contingent on that.”
Having the campground closed since June 20 put a huge strain on the club’s profits, said Lee.
“It’s a significant hit,” he said. “It’s our major fundraising opportunity. It’s going to change the way we do business for a little while because we don’t have the revenues.”
Revenue from the facility not only goes back into the community to support various programs, but many who camp in Black Diamond spend their money in local shops and restaurants, he said.