Solid deal

The Town of Fort Frances has its eye firmly fixed on the future with the proposed purchase of Sunny Cove Camp from the local Kiwanis Club.
First and foremost, the deal will help ensure the 28-acre camp—a fixture here for 75 years—continues to be enjoyed by generations of district residents to come, whether for Bible camps, staff picnics, family reunions, and weddings.
The town also is looking at the property as a place to run its outdoor educational programs, which is of particular concern given the future of Pither’s Point Park remains in limbo.
Certainly most intriguing is the potential to attract outside groups to hold seminars, conferences, and retreats at Sunny Cove—much like Quetico Centre on Eva Lake east of Atikokan used to do. It would be a source of increased revenue for the town, not to mention the spin-off benefits sure to flow by enhancing our area as a destination.
It does not come without a cost, of course. While the purchase price is just $1, the town will be responsible for its maintenance and upkeep, including the hiring of an on-site caretaker. There’s a projected $100,000 cost to upgrade the building foundations there, and another $17,000 cost for new equipment for the well system. And that’s not counting cosmetic attention needed for some buildings, electrical services that need to be consolidated into one, and enhancing accessibility to most buildings.
Having said that, the town can apply for grants to help cover these upgrades.
As well, Sunny Cove Camp’s annual revenues have exceeded expenditures in the past four years, including a net profit of just under $15,000 in 2008. Surely the town can run it in the same fiscally prudent manner as the Kiwanis Club has done since it took over ownership from the Jaycees back in 1957.
And as for concerns about higher user fees under town ownership, the Kiwanis Club will continue fundraising in order to keep on subsidizing youth groups who use the camp.
Sunny Cove Camp is a benefit for the whole district—and the town is right to step to the plate to preserve it.