It would take anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 to open the municipal campground at Brennan Park to individual users, according to a staff report to council. The council will discuss the issue at a Committee of the Whole Meeting on April 11.
The Municipal Campground near Brennan Park operated until fall 2019 and opened for a short time during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, District decided to open the campground only for events, though it was used for recreation programming as well.
Opening the campground to individuals would be a tedious, time and money-consuming process, if the staff report is to be believed. To open the site ‘safely and responsibly’ from May long weekend to September would require the site to be upgraded, including providing a holding tank for sewerage.
And then there is the need for staff. The report notes that District staff assigned to the campground was not adequate and “camp host” positions would need to be contracted to provide support and security 24 hours a day. It would all add up. Here are the estimates for what it would take to reopen the campground ahead of a predictably busy summer.
Sanitary system: $300,000-$500,000
Site operation, including waste removal and grounds maintenance: $30,000
Staffing for registration: $40,000, and a minimum of $60,000 for camp hosts, a service that will be contracted out. And then there is the cost of bylaw enforcement, for which the amount varies based on call volume.
“Given the current commitments for event camping and initiation of the Fields and Lands Master Plan, opening the campground to individual users for the 2023 season would have impacts to budget, staff capacity, and organizational plans,” the report notes.
It also adds: “Staff continue to discuss with the Province the development of additional recreation sites as well as expanding existing campgrounds to accommodate higher volumes of visitors in appropriate locations near Squamish, in support of Council’s advocacy efforts in 2021 and 2022 to the Ministry of Environment and BC Parks”