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Nickle Lake Regional Park in a strong financial position

Park board to concentrate efforts on building new central facility 'as soon as possible'

WEYBURN – The Nickle Lake Regional Park is in a strong positive position financially after 2021, with the details brought out at their annual meeting held on Wednesday evening at the Knox Hall, emceed by board president Doug Lumb.

Improvements are on the way at the park this year, with a new workshop being built, and plans are being finalized for a new central building that will house the washrooms and a restaurant. The new workshop should be completed within a month or two.

Reeve Norm McFadden of the RM of Weyburn presented a donation of $50,000 to the park board, and noted this is part of the RM’s commitment of $50,000 a year over the next 10 years to the park.

“I’ve been telling people who’ve questioned the RM’s commitment, for some people this is their holidays, going out to Nickle Lake. Let’s do what we can to give them the best childhood memories,” said McFadden in an interview, adding that the regional park and the Weyburn Golf Course are recreation facilities for many RM residents, and “It’s a benefit for everybody.”

There were a number of events held last year which proved popular, such as the bike parade on Canada Day, the Karissa Hoffart concert and the Halloween costume contest, said park manager Sandra Petrescue in her report.

“After a long year of restrictions, everyone was ready to enjoy the park and be outside and socialize,” she said. “2021 still had a few challenges, including extreme weather, dryness, increased visitors and some of the infrastructure had trouble keeping up.”

A survey was done of campers about what they would like to see more of, or improvements that could be made, and a few events are being lined up for 2022.

Among the summer events being lined up will be the Canada Day celebrations on July 1-2, including a smoke-off barbecue competition, entertainment, beer gardens and car show; Nickle Lake Days on July 30, with entertainment and a beer gardens; Halloween in the Park will be back again on Aug. 13, and Karissa Hoffart will do another cabaret-style concert, with Justin LaBrash, on Sept. 3.

In the financial report, presented by Brittany Kerr of Grant Thornton, the park saw an increase in revenues of $170,000, mostly due to the camping fees over a full summer, and a net income of $182,000 on the year, with a reduction of expenses of $20,000. With the expansion of new camp sites completed the year before, most expenses were from maintenance and repairs. The park also has $105,000 in cash in the bank.

The main project the board is gearing up for is the new building that will house the washrooms and a restaurant under one roof, to be built on Cugnet Drive.

Past president Terry Benning noted the current washrooms are at “end-of-life” and are overdue to be replaced.

“We want to get to this new building. We want to combine the washrooms and put them in one facility. That’s what we’re working towards right now,” he said, noting they want to finalize the plans for this building and “get to building it as soon as we can.”

He added later if they could have other commitments from the City or other RMs, they could go to the bank with the commitments, and along with the healthy bank balance, ask how much financing they would be able to get towards construction of the new facility.

“It’s going to be a tough one, but that’s our plan,” said Benning.

Asked if there will be more camp sites put in, he said there are plans for more, and noted the most expensive part of that has already been put in, namely the 50-amp power and sewage lift station, which can accommodate more sites.

The Nickle Lake board is comprised of Kirk Dammann, Trevor Jensen and John Corrigan of the City of Weyburn, Terry Benning and Dan Cugnet of the RM of Weyburn; Wayne Vilcu, RM of Griffin; Chris Douglas, RM of Wellington; Don Pineo of the RM of Lomond; Carrie Nankivell, slow-pitch representative; and Doyle Larson, social events representative.

The park is supported by the City of Weyburn, and the RMs of Weyburn, Wellington, Griffin and Lomond.