Point Park closed to tent camping

Merna Emara
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Camping at Point Park is an annual tradition for many. But this year is unlike any previous one – due to COVID-19, most services have been changed to comply with evolving provincial guidelines, and the Point Park campground is no exception.

Travis Rob, operations and facilities manager, said all town facilities such as public washrooms are closed because of COVID-19 and the requirements to maintain and clean them. Without washroom access, the campground is forced to close.

“We don’t have the man power to look after the [washrooms] in the level that we feel comfortable with. Because we don’t have facilities available at the Point Park, and on top of that, the province has said no public showers,” Rob said. “Because we don’t have those services available, we have closed the camp ground from tenting.”

However, the camper section of the park, where people can park RVs and hook in to power and water, will remain open. The space is limited to self-sufficient campers who do not need to use washrooms outside of their trailers.

Point Park is currently operating on the honour system. There are camp site permits that can be obtained from the brown building by the river. Campers need to fill out certain forms indicating where they are camping, whether they will tent or use a camper trailer and how long they are staying.

According to the town website, an employee will make regular checks to ensure the honour system is working.

“We do have a drop box, so you put your payment in the drop box and we are around to collect it regularly,” Rob said. “We then use the camping permits to know who is where. There is no need to get in touch with anyone. All the documentation that they need is there. When they get to the site, fill in the particulars, pull up to a spot you like and plug in.”

There are 18 campsites with hydro and water hook-ups. The first six closest to the brown office building have 30-amp services. The remaining 12 sites have 15-amp service. Point Park can accommodate RVs 40 ft. in length.

The following are the rates for self-sufficient campers with full hook-up to use hydro and water: $36.25 per night, $182.50 per week and $703.75 for four weeks.

However, even with the other 80 sites that would usually accommodate tenters being closed, there is always the question of whether campers at Point Park are following the safety precautions during their stay.

“That is the difficult part,” Rob said. “We have signs posted reminding the new visitors to practice physical distancing and we leave it up to them. It is very difficult, and I’m sure you can imagine, for us to be there to make sure people are keeping their physical distancing and doing what they need to be doing.”

Rob also said although they are short-staffed, they have staff members that are doing some maintenance tasks at Point Park regularly.

“Myself and my supervisors are patrolling that area regularly and just looking out for people that are not following our safety guidelines,” Rob said.

According to the town’s website, the Point Park season runs from May to October and the trailer dump station can be used free of charge.