Big questions were raised around budgeting for major upgrades to Williamson’s Lake park & campground after a final site plan was presented to the City of Revelstoke’s parks committee last week.
The plan calls for replacing existing buildings, improving accessibility to the beach, renovating the dock, moving the mini-golf course and removing all campsites from the beach area.
The total price tag could reach $1.4 million, depending on what kind of buildings are constructed and if every project in the plan is implemented.
“We did endorse it as it is laid out there,” councillor Aaron Orlando, the chair of the parks committee, told the Review. However, he added that first they want to see a business plan in place that would look at the ongoing revenue and expenses associated with the park.
“We need a business plan and we need a better grasp of the capital planning process,” said Orlando. “I have an issue approving a plan that sketches out a timeline for this, but if we don’t have a real plan of how that comes to fruition, that is a real concern to me.”
The concept plan was prepared by Selkirk Planning & Design, Larch landscaping, and Take to Heart, which provided architecture plans for the new buildings.
It emerged out of an open house held in November where three options were presented. One was park focused, one campground focused, and the third a mix between the two.
According to the report by, the majority of people who attended the open house expressed a preference for the first and third options, with no one preferring a campground-focused site plan.
“We’re basically looking at what the consultation said, and that was the community park focus,” said Orlando.
What’s in the plan?
PHOTO: The final site plan for Williamson’s Lake calls for moving campsites off the beach, building new showers and change rooms, re-vamping the dock and adding accessible pathways. ~ Image by Selkirk Planning & Design
First, it moves all the campsites off the beach, and up the hill. It would include a mix of full-service RV sites, vehicle access sites, and walk-in sites. There would be 45 sites in total — down from the current 48. Orlando said the committee asked that all sites could be maintained in the new design.
Second, it would see all the existing buildings replaced. The highest priority is placed on building new bathrooms and showers for the campsite; the report says the existing building has reached the end of its expected life. The cost ranges from $164,000 to $188,000.
It also calls for new buildings to house the day-use change rooms, food services and registration. Various options are presented to house those facilities. Three include one building for the change rooms, and a second building for food services, registration and a caretaker suite. Two other options would see one building constructed to house all facilities. Costs estimates range from as low as $275,000 for a one-building solution, to up to $389,000 for two buildings.
Orlando said no decisions were made on what building options to go with. “Those are budget items, so that’s not something we can approve at a committee level.”
The third element would see pathways upgraded to improve accessibility. An accessible pathway would be built to the waterfront for $22,000, and there are lower-priority plans to build an accessible pathway along the beach for $11,000. Add in contingencies, and the cost for the pathways clips $41,000.
The plan also calls for new signage, including a new entry sign, directional signs, an information sign, and an interpretive sign. Total cost for all signage is about $62,000.
Improved landscaping is budgeted at $145,000. Campground renovations would cost about $268,000.
Finally, the plan includes relocating the mini-golf course to an area around the playground at a cost of $62,500. That wasn’t part of the proposals presented to the public, but it was a request made in the feedback received at the open house.
The total cost depends on what projects council chooses to move forward with, but could reach $1.4 million if all projects go forward and the most expensive building options are chosen.
The plan recommends replacing the campground washroom next year, with work on the remaining projects taking place over the next decade.
You can read the report on the Review website.
Capital planning a key concern
A big question will be where the money will come from. There is only $20,000 in the city’s 2016–20 Financial Plan for upgrades to Williamson’s Lake, while the city’s 2015–17 Resort Development Strategy, which outlines how tourism infrastructure dollars will be spent, includes $75,000 for the park.
That is a question the committee raised, said Orlando. He said they asked Donato to come back with a business plan for the park that would look at the revenue potential of the park and the long-term capital costs.
“I guess our main issue is this plan doesn’t connect those numbers together,” he said. “Such as, can we generate more revenue if we have a better building with a better restaurant in it? How much are we going to lose by not having campsites on the beach? That kind of thing.”
They also want to know how the budget for Williamson’s Lake fits in with the parks departments capital plan. The city is looking at several major projects like the pump track, skatepark, splash park, a trail network and work on the golf course facilities, said Orlando.
“I have difficulty with the fact we have so many different things going on, but we don’t really have a clear picture of how these are going to be paid for,” he said. “We have several large projects piling up and we don’t have adequate capital planning to account for them all.”