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MD of Bonnyville applies for provincial funding for Cold Lake campground expansion

The Cold Lake campground expansion will be done in a phased approach
MD sign
MD of Bonnyville signage

COLD LAKE – The MD of Bonnyville is hoping to get a hand from the provincial government for the Cold Lake campground expansion.

Council voted in favour of submitting a grant application for $1.5-million to the provincial Municipal Stimulus Program (MSP) during their Sept. 9 meeting. If approved, the funds will go toward the construction at the Cold Lake MD campground, a marina, and lookout reclamation.

“The criteria, as set by the province, requires municipalities to be committed to taking concrete actions to reduce organizational red tape... to encourage private sector investment in the funded projects, and projects must not result in municipal tax increases,” explained Caroline Palmer, director of parks, recreation and culture.

In order to qualify for the MSP, the project must include work on roads, bridges, water and wastewater systems, public transit, or recreation.

The campground expansion will be completed in a phases, which council voted in favour of during their meeting. The work is expected to be complete by the summer of 2023.

“It will utilize 67 acres, add additional campsites, drive-through sites, RV sites, along with a tenting area, playground, boat launch, and trails,” detailed Palmer.

In April, council awarded the roughly $299,600 consulting contract to Wood Environment and Infrastructure Services. It was determined that the plan to construct the campground to full capacity, and to meet the high service demands, would exceed the current funding for the project and would be better done in a phased approach completed over two or more years.

The new budget rang in at $5.4-million, which would come from the parks capital budget and through the MSP if the municipality is approved.

Phase one construction will consist of stripping and clearing the north and south loop roads and the campsite locations, water main installation, drainage improvements along the existing access road, and full development of the tenting sites.

The north and south roadway development will be complete in 2021, along with the campsite development and the installation of electrical throughout the facility for the second phase of the project. That’s estimated to cost about $2.7-million.

Phase three will be done following year for a price tag of around $1.1-million, which covers roadway reconstruction and paving.

The lookout will also be removed during this phase and the area will be developed, a 20-slip marina with a boat launch and a floating dock will be complete, and a controlled gate will also be constructed for $1.5-million.

Palmer noted the idea to add another point of access to the lake was suggested as the expansion may add to the demand already seen.

“We felt there was a responsibility with this expansion through these sites and tenting area that we would be bringing in people to the area and that it may overstress what points of entry there are in Cold Lake,” she explained. “We felt that maybe there was some responsibility on us to possibly have this area developed and to be able to sustain a (marina) sight.”

MD Reeve Greg Sawchuk noted he received a positive response from Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland when discussing the possibility.

“He said they’re on board and they recognize they could build a marina twice its size and there’s more access needed to Cold Lake itself. He was in favour of building the launch and allowing the campground to use it, he said even if you go beyond and allows others to access it that he doesn’t think people would have a problem paying for that access as well.”

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

Robynne Henry

About the Author: Robynne Henry

Reporter for the Bonnyville Nouvelle
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