Sunny Cove Camp was acquired by the Town of Fort Frances from the Kiwanis Club in 2009, for the unthinkable sum of two dollars. We stole it, or, it was a gift that cannot be equaled. At the same time we were in early disputes with the First Nations regarding Pithers Point Park, or as we refer to it today, Point Park. Other than shortening the name, not much has changed for that disputed property. We are still in litigation regarding the Park. Any settlement reached through the courts may not necessarily be favourable to the Town, but among other things, Sunny Cove was seen as a little piece of lakefront recreational property that the town has obtained and owns outright. It may some day be our only lakefront beach property and it should be retained for that eventuality, if nothing else.
Municipal recreational and cultural facilities in all municipalities are more money pits than money makers. None of our facilities makes a profit. Rather, they cost us dearly in tax dollars just to keep them viable. The Memorial Sports Centre costs us out of tax dollars on a yearly basis, more than $800,000. The Library costs us around $500,000 in budget dollars annually. The Museum comes in at over $100,000 and the marina fails to make a profit. Sunny Cove, which is a hub of activity in the summer months, needs $40,000 to keep it operating. That’s 1600 percent less than the Sports Centre.
Every sporting and recreational entity that the Town owns is replaceable, except for one. If the Museum was demolished to make room for some future downtown development, we could build a new facility on another site. If the property where the Sports Centre sits was found to be contaminated and could no longer be occupied, we could raze the building and choose a new location and rebuild. The same holds true for every other public building that we treasure. BUT if we were to divest ourselves of Sunny Cove, that jewel will be lost forever. Public beaches on Rainy Lake are not plentiful and available.
Mr. Bedard pointed out in his Letter to the editor two weeks ago, that Moffat Family Trust Dollars could be applied for, to help in the funding of Sunny Cove. He was correct in his suggestion, as the Sunny Cove Advisory Committee has applied for and received funding in the recent past to help offset the costs of capital improvements and maintenance. Mr. Noonan added that provincial dollars and Trillium Funds could be persuaded to help keep the facility operational.
Paul Noonan also eluded to the fact that there is untapped potential for the expanded use of the Sunny Cove property. There is enough property to develop a public camp ground and if the second beach were utilized, public swimming could occur. All of the additions would be in spite of the ongoing use for the youth summer camps and the weddings and other gatherings that currently happen. Properly outfitted, Sunny Cove could extend its season to other groups and events. The potential is not limitless, but the lakefront atmosphere is not easily replicated, if we dispose of the site. Future generations should have the opportunity to enjoy Rainy Lake as we have.