Camping At Williamson Lake In The Winter May Not Be A Reality

While we are heading into camping season for the next six months, city staff are recommending that Williamson Lake not be utilized in the winter months.

The 41 site campground is maintained by a caretaker that is contracted out by the City of Revelstoke. In the summer months, the campground is constantly busy with guests being denied access because of just how busy it is. While it is not the largest campground in B.C., it can certainly house a fair amount of both RV and traditional campers in that space; 18 RV sites with full hook ups, 7 power only sites and 16 tent sites. During the winter months, snow removal services are provided by City staff, however it is limited to Williamson Lake Road.

During the winter, snow storage must have several metres between each existing site, however there is room to accommodate 12-14 camping units. This would come at a cost of $25-$40K for snow removal, garbage bin costing roughly $5000 and of course hiring a caretaker for the season or staff managing the cite.

If this site were to be used year round numerous services would beed to be upgraded.

Power: Upgrade services (raise and install proper receptacles at each site).

Water: Water line is currently undersized and not below frost line. Replace existing undersized 1 1/2 inch line with a 6 inch line and bury below frost line.

Sewer: Sewer line is undersized and not below frost line. Will require an upgrade and to be buried below frost line.

Septic System: Current system is undersized to service a year round campground. It should be replaced and lowered to accommodate proper fall lines for improved sanitary lines.

This would come at a cost to the tune of $200,000.

Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture, Laurie Donato stated in a staff report, “It is staff’s opinion that the size restriction and existing layout of the campground area at Williamson Lake Park, as well as the costs required to upgrade the existing services to accommodate winter RV camping make this proposal cost prohibitive for the City to take on.”

If the campground were to remain open there are other costs that would need to be considered. The existing washroom facility would need to be maintained and the City would incur additional operating costs as well as the upgrades mentioned above. As these have yet to be dealt with, there is no way to determine the impact that these works would have on the current operating system.

With the current caretaker in a contract from April-October, that too would have to be revisited if council felt that campground should remain open. Both Fernie and Whistler have a winter operation running for camping, however, Fernie has 93 full service sites to rent out at full capacity, as Williamson Lake has 12-14.