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Didsbury campground to trial year-round occupancy at limited sites

Rosebud Valley Campground to remain open October 2022 to April 2023 and will involve camping sites 22-28 in the inner loop as part of the trial

DIDSBURY - Town council has approved a trial project that will see the town-owned Rosebud Valley Campground remain open with a reduced number of sites through the upcoming winter months.

The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting.

Administration was recently presented with the proposal for year-round operations of the campground, located on the town’s east side near the Rosebud Creek, put forward by current coordinators Melissa and Phil Boucher. 

The trial will run from October 2022 to April 2023 and will involve camping sites 22-28 in the inner loop.

“The potential revenues offered through this proposal are anticipated to cover any additional costs created through year-round operations and with over 70 per cent of the sites available already having interest, the risk of not renting these sites is deemed low,” said Ethan Gorner, the Town of Didsbury's chief administrative officer. “There would be no additional contractor costs associated with this trial period.”

The year-round sites would have electric service only, as water to the sites would be turned off during the winter month.

“Campers would be responsible to fill and dump their units as required during this time period, at their own cost,” he said.

“Access to the washroom/shower facilities would remain open during this time period and is not at risk for freezing, as was tested last year. The washroom/shower building is metered, so consumption can be tracked during the trial period.”

Snow removal at the site would be the responsibility of the contractor, and the contractor would ensure security and monitoring of both the guests and the operations of the campground during the trial period, he said.

“Winter activities are proposed, like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for use by guests and the community,” he said. “Plans (are) to expand the Christmas light display, which will be attractive to potential guests of the campground.”

Administration has reviewed the proposal and sees no areas of sufficient concern to not proceed with the trial, he said.

In their report to council, the camp coordinators said, “There is an untapped market in year-round campground services. As you will see from this proposal, other facilities in our area are successfully tapping into this market already. 

“The bottom line is that we are proposing to keeping the inner loop open for the winter months. This will also make it more feasible for the campground gates to remain open year round as a value add for winter recreation opportunities for town residents.”

Deputy mayor Curt Engel and councillors Dorothy Moore, John Baswick, Joyce McCoy and Ethan Williams voted for the motion that the “Rosebud Valley Campground - year-round proposal for a trial period of October 2022 to April 2023, and that a report on this trial effort be brought back following the winter camping season.”

Coun. Bill Windsor voted against the motion saying he wanted more information about the possible expenses involved.

Administration will make inquires with other municipalities that operate year-round campgrounds and report back to council on Sept. 27 about possible rates and fees for the expanded opening of the Didsbury facility.