WEYBURN - Weyburn’s campground jewel, River Park, has seen a return to pre-COVID levels for campers and visitors in 2022, according to the season-end report to council from parks manager Curtis Block.
Altogether, River Park had 677 visitors between May 15 and Oct. 1, which is an increase from 2020 and 2021, mostly due to the lifting of COVID restrictions.
About 41 per cent of the visitors were from Saskatchewan, and 17 per cent were from the U.S., and Alberta accounted for 15 per cent of visitors.
The total revenue to the City for 2022 was $50,588, which was above the levels for 2020 and 2021, and more on par with 2018 and 2019.
A campground fee increase was approved by council for 2022 to 2024 seasons, with serviced sites increasing from $30 to $35, and non-serviced sites went from $18 to $20.
In this past year, new windows were installed in the campground building, with plans to install new window blinds, update the washroom countertops and fresh paint inside the building in 2023.
The City will also bring in an online booking system in 2023 to streamline campground reservations, and bookings for the gazebo are also planned to be part of the online system.
There has been 54 trees planted in River Park since 2020 to help replace dead or declining trees. Many of these trees were from Tatagwa tree donations, as well as trees bought from the operating budget.
An automated irrigation system was installed in 2021, and this year, an irrigation system was installed to water the flowerbed near the centre of the park.
There were 10 new firepits purchased in 2022, with plans to buy 10 more in 2023 to replace the aging and missing washer-type fire pits.
• In other council business, the City is sending out a six-month notice to the owners of 42 properties for unpaid taxes.
The notice is being sent out to give the land owners the opportunity to pay the outstanding taxes before the City proceeds to request title of the properties from the Provincial Mediation Board. After a period of six months, the City will make the request for consent of title.
The total amount of back taxes owing is $112,398, and involved both residential and commercial properties.
Asked how this compares to past years, finance director Laura Missal noted the arrears last year totaled $74,000, and was $223,000 the year before that.
• The City has received a discretionary use development permit for Cedar and Vine Design (formerly the Signal Hill Arts Centre) for renovations and to change the use of the building.
The plan is to change from a community recreation facility to mixed use that will have several commercial spaces as well as two residential units.
The proposed uses will include a custom workshop, studios, and a coffee shop, which would be classified as a restaurant, along with the two residential units, one of them being the former caretaker’s unit.
Among the conditions for the development is the provision for 22 parking spaces, including one barrier-free parking space. Staff reviewed the application with consideration for the heritage designation, and are of the opinion the planned renovations will not impact the exterior of the historical building.