Seasonal Camp Closures

Seasonal Camp Closures

At the June 2016 Ontario Council meeting, a decision was made to seasonally close 7 campsites. They are:

  •   Camp Adelaide:

November 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017

  •   Bonita Glen Camp:

November 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017

  •   Camp Carruthers:

November 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017

  •   Doe Lake Camp:

September 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017

  •   Camp Kah Ne Do: 

July 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017

  •   Camp Kienuka: 

July 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017

  •   Pipers Hill Camp:

July 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017

This difficult decision had to be made due to the financial impact that the deficit of the camp properties was having on the overall Ontario budget. Currently, the only deficit that Ontario Council carries is the cost of operating the camp properties. The budget forecast in June indicated that the deficit would grow to over $500,000, which Ontario simply cannot afford to maintain.

In order to minimize the impact of the deficit, it was agreed to seasonally shut down the sites listed above. The decisions were made based on two factors; the ability to maximize the savings during the fall and winter OR to minimize disruption to units already booked. We closed those sites that did not have bookings for the 2016 fall season. Collectively, these closures should reduce the expenses required to offset the lack of revenue. 

We understand that this decision may mean that some units are not able to make the plans they anticipated making for the fall and winter. In most cases, there is another Guiding property within a reasonable distance from a site and we encourage you to use that alternate Guiding property. In those cases where that is not possible, we hope you will be able to find another facility to meet your camping/outdoor needs during this time. 

The current decision on seasonal closures ends on April 30, 2017 when those sites will re-open for business. The booking program will be live for all 2017 bookings in mid to late October 2016 and these revised dates will be included in that schedule. 

Many have asked if this decision is a precursor to longer term decisions. These seasonal closures do not signal any decisions about the camp properties in the long run. Long term decisions need to be made and Council is reviewing many options for the continued use of our camp properties in the context of a reasonable and probably very different business model. We have recently undertaken a review of every camp property to assess its value, the amount of capital work that needs to be undertaken, the ongoing deficit of each property and improvements that are required to meet ongoing legislative requirements. That cost over the next fifteen years exceeds $26 million. In the manner we currently operate, the province simply cannot afford that cost, therefore we are seeking options to use our properties differently. 

We believe that camping is a valuable activity for members of Girl Guides. We own camp properties in some areas of the province but not in others. Ontario Council is committed to looking at the equity of outdoor and camp program availability across the province with a view to looking at program options that will benefit all members, regardless of where they live in the province or territory.

In late September there will be a report forthcoming with all the data that has been collected for the various options under consideration. Once Council has reviewed the report and determined that there is enough information to move forward,  this report will be shared with each member. Dialogue and consultation will then be undertaken with the membership to help define the best way to move forward. We anticipate that the report and process will be ready for release by early November. If that timeline needs to change, I commit to notifying you of the revised timing.

We appreciate that each of you will have opinions and thoughts on this conversation. I welcome your input once the report is released, but ask you refrain from having assumptive conversations on social media prior to that time. There will be a communication process set up where both Jill Dundas, Executive Director and I will answer questions that arise from the report. This will be done in a centralized manner, within the structure of our website, so that answers are contained in one place for all to see.

Please know that I am committed to making this process as open as possible with the membership. In turn I ask for your patience while we consolidate all of the data that will make you as informed as possible. The immediate is being dealt with and the long term still needs your input, which will occur shortly.

Sincerely, 

Susan Birnie, Provincial Commissioner

 

28/02/2017 4:52:58 AM