Council votes to shutter Mount Baker RV Park for 2021
City to start public process to solicit expressions of interest for future of the site
City of Cranbrook council Jan. 18 agreed to direct the city to not operate Mount Baker RV Park in 2021.
The existing contract with the City of Cranbrook for the operation of the Mt Baker RV Campground expires on March 31.
Should the city wish to continue to operate it, it would be necessary to go out for a new RFP (Request for Proposal). The current operator has indicated they do not wish to operate the campground after the expiry of the current contract, states a report to council by Ron Fraser of Engineering and Development Services.
“The campground effectively closed for the season on October 12, 2020. It would not normally open until April 1 of the following year. The Mt Baker RV Campground facility needs major repairs. This is a decision point for council. It is important to be clear that this is only for the current Mount Baker RV Campground and not Baker Park which is flooded annually for outdoor skating rinks.
“In 2019, the campground operator’s gross revenue was $141,229, of which $28,246 (20%) was paid to the city. This is a normal annual income from the campground to the city. To upgrade the campground, a complete redesign and reconfiguration of the facility is required, including a new washroom, and all electrical, water, and sanitary infrastructure replaced. Estimated cost for this redevelopment to operate the campground is $1.3 million,” the city report said.
Campground infrastructure is well past its lifespan and does not meet current codes and requirements. There are several repairs required before spring before the campground can open again. To minimally repair the campground, it requires a new water connection to the sani-dump, and modest electrical upgrades on sites along 2nd St. S. This would allow for short stays where campers fill up with water and empty tanks at the sani-dump location only, and only have power at the sites. This would cost $80,000 for a short-term fix of those immediate repairs only. To allow full services at all the sites would require an additional expenditure of $70,000. Even at that, the campground will remain outdated and future upgrades and modernization will be required, the city outlined.
“The business case for a $28,000 per year revenue campground at a cost of $1.3 million for a proper rebuild, and an $80,000 minimal repair if desired to operate in the short-term until that rebuild is completed, is a discussion point. City administration is recommending that the city not operate the Mount Baker RV Campground for the 2021 season and communicate that direction to residents and visitors,” the city report said.
The 1.23 ha area currently occupied by the Mt Baker RV Campground as shown on the map (above) may have many alternate uses that are beneficial to the city and its residents. “Administration could develop and initiate a public process to gather expressions of interest on ideas for the future of the area under the direction of council.”
The city will be undertaking a comprehensive Downtown Revitalization Master Planning process in 2021, which will provide an opportunity to consider this location and its potential, in the context of how it fits within the downtown plan area.
The downtown plan has been identified as a priority in Council’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan.
Not undertaking the repairs nor operating the RV campground for the 2021 season also allows council to work towards their strategic goals of “priority-based budgeting” and to consider the RV campground in the context of overall service delivery in Cranbrook.
It is noted that the significant RV campground improvements have not been currently identified as a priority capital item project in the city’s current draft budget.
Going out to the public for an expression of interest for development will identify what possibilities there may be to provide a greater return to the citizens of Cranbrook which could include further housing capacity or other developments they may come up with.
Once the results of the Expressions of Interest are received, administration will discuss with council and pursue further engagement with the general public, the city report concluded.
City of Cranbrook plan/map