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MD of Bonnyville campgrounds getting an upgrade

The MD of Bonnyville is making some upgrades to their parks, including Vezeau Beach. Photo by Robynne Henry.

BONNYVILLE – Campgrounds within the MD of Bonnyville are getting an upgrade.

During their regular meeting on April 22, council voted in favour of constructing accessible stalls at the Vezeau Beach and Crane Lake MD campgrounds, and awarded the contract for the Cold Lake MD park expansion.

When the municipality first applied for the Municipal Parks Enhanced Accessibility Project grant in 2019, the original plan was to create accessible camping at the Cold Lake MD park and Crane Lake MD park. After taking ownership of Vezeau Beach, the MD opted to amend their application.

“In consideration of the acquisition of Vezeau Beach campground and park, a request was made for a construction location change to our Municipal Parks Enhancement Accessibility Project,” explained Caroline Palmer, general manager of planning and community services. “Specifically, the request proposed to change the two locations from Cold Lake MD park and Crane Lake to Vezeau Beach and Crane Lake. The request was approved in 2019 but wasn’t reflected in the project carried forward in 2020.”

The Cold Lake MD campground will still have accessible stalls built during the overall expansion of the park. Council awarded that contract to Wood Environment and Infrastructure Services for roughly $300,000. 

Whether or not Alberta Parks has requirements for the accessibility stalls is still being looked into.

“It’s all being investigated through the project itself to create drive-through stalls so that accessibility is always obtained by the individual that is disabled,” Palmer explained. “Right now, we haven’t really got those standards in place yet but we will.”

The Cold Lake expansion project will utilize 67 available acres within the park to include additional camping, drive-through and RV sites, along with a tenting area, playground, and trails.

Wood Environment and Infrastructure Services submitted a concept plan using Parks Canada's design and took into account the removal of a wetland in the park if necessary, which would put the estimated construction time at 90 days.

A number of other companies who submitted applications quoted the timeline around 60 days but didn’t factor in the removal of the wetland.

Coun. Dana Swigart said, “I’ve been waiting for years for this to happen and I’m happy that it’s happening. I’m looking forward to it.”

A wetland study is needed before construction can officially begin, but Palmer was confident it would start within the year.

“Our anticipation is that this process will be started before the winter hits, and it could possibly cross over because the studies do take a while. It could cross over to 2021, but we’re aiming for construction to start in 2020.”

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

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