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Wheels in motion to find funds for Sunny Cove

By Randy Thoms May 25, 2023 | 10:50 PM

Fort Frances town council has agreed to seek funding for repairs to Sunny Cove camp.

The decision this week comes two weeks after council rejected an administration recommendation to sell off the camp.

Administration came back with the suggestion of seeking funds for improving Russell Hall, the main building, acquiring a consulting firm to look at design work, and having council commit to unbudgeted funds for the work.

Council agreed with all of the recommendations, emphasizing they were agreeing in-principle to the unbudgeted funds.

Interim Chief Administrative Officer Travis Rob remains uncertain what the exact cost may be.

“Part of getting a firm in here and taking a look at it, they may come back and say rebuilding or repairing is not an option. But short of going and getting that qualified expertise from someone that does deal with log buildings all the time, I don’t think we would be necessarily money ahead to plan to tear it down and rebuild. I think that would be more costly than repairing,” says Rob.

“I think that’s probably a prudent first step. Get it to a state where we can operate it in some capacity and then work on what that capacity looks like into the future,” says Rob.

Rob’s goal is to have the improvements done early next year and have the site reopened to the public that summer.

Councillor Steve Maki is among councillors expressing the importance of a long-term vision for the camp.

He notes the site is underutilized and difficult to access for many.

“It’s not utilized for 75% of the year. And when it is open, organizations book it, and the community doesn’t have access to just run down there and hang out on the beach. I think the current way it’s used inhibits the entire town from ever fully utilizing it. Not to mention that we don’t use it for nine months of the year,” says Maki.

Council also agreed to let administration discuss the terms imposed by the Kiwanis Club in the hand off to the town to see if they can be lifted so potential revenue-generating ideas can be explore.

The camp has been inactive since 2019, mostly because of the pandemic.

Council did look at trying to find someone to operate the camp. The United Church in Emo considered the idea but backed out, feeling it would be too much work.



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