Lions Campground fees increasing over two years

After taking a hard look at the Stettler Lions Campground and its fees compared to other similar-sized campgrounds, administration found increasing the rates would be appropriate.

Brad Robbins, Recreation and Culture manager, gave a few options in terms of prices and the implementation strategy.

Council determined option two, the option to increase their current nightly rate of $28 up to $35 next year and then a final increase to $40 in 2021 as a way to allow regular campers to slowly adjust to the change.

This campground, located right in the heart of Stettler, currently has 23 full service (power, water, sewer, wifi) sites as well as 39 partial service sites and four non-serviced spaces.

Free showers, wifi signal, and the dumping station use are also available as they were included in the previous rates.

“As someone who travels with kids, $28 is a smoking deal,” said Robbins.

It is in direct proximity to the skatepark, recreation centre, playground, spray park, West Stettler Park as well as amenities close by making the space very attractive for the avid camper and sports tourists.

“No rock has been left without being lifted and seen what is there,” began Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky. “Of course the campground is another one of our little jewels that over the last number of years we’ve invested in in the form of better power sources, better wifi, better water and sewer so this take in capital dollars has suggested we welcome the patrons who come and use our campground. It’s very amicable.”

The increase will be used as a way to recoup some revenue lost from other departments.

“We found out we were perhaps a little light in comparison,” said CAO Switenky.

Robbins conducted a fee analysis amongst 16 other campgrounds with similar size, proximity to Stettler and range of options like the full and partial hookups owned and operated by the municipality.

“I’m not aware of many other campgrounds that boast the offerings directly or around the campsite which I think after you factor in the rates we’ve been charging, tourists as they come in to be part of that area.

“They are not just coming here for ball, there are people that are coming here specifically for the attractions that area offers,” said Robbins.

In addition to ensuring that the fee’s approved recover basic attendant and supply costs, a portion of the revenue will be used to continue enhancing the various facilities and green spaces associated with the campground such as West Stettler Ball & Soccer fields, Skate Park, Spray Park, Kin Park and West Stettler Park.

Money collection is done daily by a Stettler town employee who makes the rounds once a day.

Handibus Society funding

Judy McKnight, Coordinator, and Chairperson Cindy MacDonell of the Stettler and District Handibus Society came to council with their 2020 operating budget and 2019 stats.

Council accepted these by contributing $25,000 to the society.

This funding is included in the town’s 2020 Operating Budget.

“We are still trying to keep our head above water,” began McKnight.

The Society’s main bus has been having major issues, prompting a need for replacement. This replacement has been ordered.

“It’s a vital service to the town. We need it for sure,” said Coun. Scott Pfeiffer.

Passenger fares will be raised to $6 both ways but the two ladies found this price to be ‘pretty reasonable’ since they are still well under $10.

The last time this happened, it was raised between six and seven years ago.

“We’re hesitant to do it but we are at the point we have to,” said McKnight.

They mentioned they were still worried about funding at the moment as they have yet to receive their year-to-date funding.

Statistics remained roughly the same over the course of 2019 as it did in 2018.

Boomtown Trail removal

It was recommended after discussion at the Committee of the Whole meeting that the Town of Stettler take themselves off the list for Boomtown Trail.

Boomtown Trail is a tourist attraction where communities along this ‘trail’ were identified, giving curious tourists a chance to go off the beaten path between their trek from Calgary to Edmonton.

“It hasn’t taken traction,” said Mayor Sean Nolls.

Council passed a unanimous motion to leave.

Staff Christmas bonus

Getting into the Christmas spirit, council passed a motion to give each employee within the town’s administration and public works $350 in Heart of Alberta dollars as a bonus.

“Universal employee recognition benefits approved by council are a positive tool for creating pride and job satisfaction within the entire workplace,” said CAO Switenky.

“Acknowledging a job well done can be a powerful motivator for your employees.”

This practice began in 2007 and has since gradually increased over time.

A total of $22,330 will be given. Council agreed to keep the bonus the same for a couple more years.

“Our staff are so much more than just staff,” continued Switenky.

“They’re proud to work for the town of Stettler. These are career positions, not just jobs.

“Council can appreciate the value of having engaged employees. Those that strive to be better over time and continually looking where we can do things better, save money, make subtle little changes that make something better in someone’s life.”

Coun. Wayne Smith added, “It’s a win-win. It’s a kick start to the local economy every time we spend those dollars.”

Business, animal license prices approved

Each year council sets the Business Tax Fees for the upcoming year as some companies cannot be asked for a business license.

Administration conducted a review of the existing business taxes and the subsequent bylaw.

As of Nov. 6, 2019, the town had 44 active business tax rolls, taking in $6,600 at $150 per license.

As for cats and dogs, the town is sitting at 1,026 pet licenses.

Council agreed to keep all rates the same as last year at $25 for an altered dog or cat, $50 for an unaltered dog or cat, $10 for a replacement tag and a $10 discount between Dec. 1 and Jan. 31.

Business licenses for Stettler residents is set at $150 while out of town companies continue to pay $350.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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