Princeton’s municipally-owned campground is proving to be a jewel in the town’s crown, according to economic and tourism director Gary Schatz.
“It’s a great tool for the town,” he said in an interview with the Spotlight.
Historically the RV park on Highway 3 was run by a third party contractor, and its operations cost taxpayers.
“It was a burden,” said Schatz.
In 2020, the town decided to bring management of the park in-house and the results speak for themselves, he added, noting the town turned a profit last year on the facility.
Even with COVID travel restrictions the occupancy rate at the campground shot from 17 per cent to 45 per cent.
Town works staff made improvements, painting and planting flower beds, and an on-site manager was hired.
All COVID requirements, including cleaning and social distancing were adhered to, he said.
The municipality promoted the venue through advertising, and added touches such as firewood and ice sales, and a candy store for kids.
Early in the year, after a late COVID start, the town predicted to realize $75,000 in revenue from the venture.
The park ended up bringing in $160,000.
Schatz stressed the importance of the economic spin-offs to the community.
According to a report by Camping and RV in BC, on average every camper in the province accounts for $72 per day in spending
“I really want to stress the economic benefits of this,” said Schatz.
On a long weekend, with the park filled to capacity, that amounts to $100,000 of business for local merchants, he said.
While there are dollars for further campground improvements in the 2021 budget, Schatz said he’s applied for grants that could really light a campfire in the coming season.
Foremost, he wants to create at least one campsite designated for people with disabilities.
That ideal would involve some landscaping and paving.
“I definitely want to make that happen,” said Schatz.
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