NORTH HURON – Director of Parks and Recreation Vicky Luttenberger and Councilors had a lengthy discussion about the Blyth Campground Pilot Project at the special council meeting on November 10.
Councilors approved a request from the Blyth BIA on April 6 to upgrade 25 campgrounds with fire pits and picnic tables.
“Because this was an unknown project at the time of preparation of the 2021 budget, staff were allowed to transfer $ 18,000 from general reserves to cover the costs (materials / supplies and personnel) of financing the project. “, says a report.
According to the report, the financial impact was $ 71,000, and Luttenberger suggested that city council might want to discontinue or reduce the level of service at the campground in order to reduce the cost to taxpayers.
Luttenberger’s report also referred to the KPMG report, which advised the municipality to cease activities at the campground and / or hand over the facility.
The Director recommended that Council postpone any decision until the Parks and Recreation Master Plan is completed.
Blyth Ward adviser Kevin Falconer raised several issues with the report, expressing his dissatisfaction with the director’s report and the way the pilot was implemented.
Speaking of purchasing the fireplaces, which were extravagant and unnecessary, Falconer said there had been an offer to provide 25 rims, “but instead we have laser etched fireplaces valued at $ 500. piece, ”he said.
He also took issue with attendee figures, telling council he visited the campground every day and Luttenberger’s figures (438 bookings) were very different from what he had seen.
Luttenburger responded to his request, saying the figures may differ due to external factors such as who uses the online reservation system.
Falconer said campers were leaving before anyone arrived to verify payment, saying staff were not arriving early enough.
He pointed out that the numbers did not match in the report. The total amount included was for the entire campground and not just for the pilot project; therefore, this was not an accurate description of the cost.
Luttenberger agreed that the cost analysis was not detailed for the pilot project, but the board could request it at any time.
Falconer objected to mentioning the KPMG report in Luttenberger’s presentation, saying it was an unnecessary comment that would cause more problems than solutions.
Luttenberger responded to Falconer, saying she only wanted the board to be aware of the option.
Falconer questioned the manager, asking her why she included this particular recommendation from KPMG, stating that he felt she was singling out Blyth Campground and not making similar recommendations in other reports. .
Deputy Warden Trevor Seip also intervened, expressing his disappointment at some of the details and indicating that a large portion of the expenses described in the report are one-time expenses that would not impact the daily operating expenses at the time. ‘to come up.
Council decided to receive the report for informational purposes only and postponed any decision until the completion of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which will include an analysis of the community’s current programming and park facilities needs. and recreation.