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Didsbury campground's winter rate set following debate

Didsbury council members mixed on whether to charge higher or lower winter camping rate
Coun. Dorothy Moore said a monthly rate of $650 is reasonable. File photo/MVP Staff

DIDSBURY - Following extensive debate and discussion, town council has approved a new winter camping rate for the Rosebud Valley Campground.

The move came by way of motion at the recent, regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person and on YouTube.

On Sept. 13, council approved the pilot project which will see the campground remain open from October to April for the sites 22-28 in the inner loop. The campground is located near the town’s eastern boundary.

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

Access to the washroom and shower facilities would remain open during the winter months. Testing conducted last year found there was not a risk of freezing at the facilities.

Following the Sept. 13 vote, council instructed administration to come up with a proposed winter rate. 

Based on all the information collected, administration proposed a winter rate of $650 per month for the trial period, which is the same rate as the 30 amp power-only site for the regular camping season. 

During the Oct. 11 council meeting, council considered third reading of Bylaw 2022-12 - Rosebud Valley Campground rates and fees, which called for a monthly rate of $650.

Coun. Bill Windsor proposed a rate of $800 per month.

“I think the indication that all the stalls on the inner circle are now already booked would indicate, and I think councillor (Dorothy) Moore will agree from a real estate point of view that if you sell it before 24 hours it is probably priced too cheaply,” said Windsor. “So I think that rather than going with a lower number I think we could go to a higher number.

“Taxpayers subsidize the campground to the tune of about $20,000 for the summer program and I would hate to think what it is going to be for the winter program. So $800 might offset that, so we are not subsidizing affordable housing in the campground.”

Coun. Dorothy Moore said a monthly rate of $650 is reasonable.

“I would like us to be able to do the pilot project as proposed, at $650 per month, and then do the analysis in the spring,” said Moore. “We did have comparable and (administration) did their best to find us the best rate.”

Mayor Rhonda Hunter said it is up to council to set rates at the campground.

“We are setting the rate tonight and I would agree with anywhere from $750 to $800,” said Hunter.

Westerner RV Park in Red Deer currently charges $520/month for winter camping which includes water, and each site is metered and power is charged by consumption, which averages $150/month, for a total average cost per site is $670.

In the end, council voted for a monthly rate of $650.

Administration will report back to council next spring on how the pilot project progressed.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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