Meaford's Kinsmen Club made a presentation to council at their January 15 meeting in which they expressed concern about the future of their contract with the municipality regarding their annual Kin Kamp event at Memorial Park.
Dan White, speaking on behalf of the Kinsmen, told council that some of the information that has been provided to council is inaccurate or misleading.
“We've heard that there are some comments being made and some information being provided to council through the SDR (Service Delivery Review) and other sources, and we feel that this information could possibly lead to us not renewing our contract for Kin Kamp that ends in 2022, so to that end we'd like to provide some clarity from our point of view,” White told council.
Contained in the Service Delivery Report-51 focused on Memorial Park operations, municipal staff suggested that the Kin Kamp event results in lost revenue for the park.
“Based on our revenues for the July and September 2017 long weekends, the 91 sites in the upper campground on the August long weekend would generate revenues of approximately $10,000 for the Friday-Monday bookings. During the August long weekend no revenues are generated for the annual tax supported operating budget of Memorial Park from the upper campground sites,” notes the report. “Industry norms, as well as the booking history at Memorial Park, confirm that long weekends are the most popular camping times for many users. Additionally, the assignment of the August long weekend to the Kinsmen impacts the availability of the park to week-long clients for the days prior to the long weekend, as well as the days following. It is very popular for camping clients to book a week at a time during the week leading up to and following a long weekend. When week-long camping is not available over the August long weekend, clients will book at other campgrounds. As a result of this Memorial Park is losing those clients and the corresponding revenues from campers who are interested in extended week-long stays. It is estimated that $6,000 in potential booking revenues are lost on the upper deck from clients wanting the extended week which includes August long weekend.”
White told council that the Kinsmen object to the perception that their Kin Kamp event results in lost revenues to the municipality, and he wanted to remind council of the Kinsmen's history of contributions to Memorial Park.
“Kin Kamp was begun in 1961 and has been held in Memorial Park on the Civic Holiday weekend each year since, 57 years and counting,” White told council. “When the concept was first brought forward there was only an open field. Kinsmen added washrooms, running water, septic tanks, horseshoe pits, trees, etc., to ensure the amenities were in place. We continue to put the proceeds from the weekend event back into projects to enhance the park.”
White questioned the accuracy of some of the data contained in the service delivery report.
“The agreement between the Municipality and Kin is referenced on pages 11-12 of SDR-51 and a number of $50,000 is cited as how much the Municipality has received from Kin over the last ten years,” said White. “I recall that we, the Kin, met with Darcy Chapman, Dan Buttineau, and Rod Willis last year and gave a written report of the financial results from Kin Kamp. This was an accounting of the past 10-12 years and included a list of donations back from 2005-2013 that added up to $99,862.22, a further $13,713.80 in 2013, and the $50,000 in 2014. There is no mention that the 2016 proceeds have been tagged to cement a pad in the open air pavilion on the lower level, even though the staff was made aware of the intent, and the Kinsmen have also volunteered to pick up the municipality's portion of improving accessibility by tying in a sidewalk from the roadway for a total of (approximately) $12,000 -$15,000.”
White also told council that the Kinsmen also have $10,700 from the 2017 Kin Kamp dedicated for use at the park. He also noted that during the 2017 event the Kinsmen paid $1,658 for ice bringing the total contribution to the park to more than $12,000 in 2017.
“Looking back in history, the Kin families come to have a good time, spend money in Meaford, stay longer than just the weekend in many cases and return to Memorial Park to camp at other times of the year, all the while bolstering the local economy and allowing the Meaford Kin to pour many dollars back into the park,” White told council. “The Municipality has done great work in recent years to improve the facilities, and the base that they had to start with was built with the heavy support of the proceeds from Kin Kamp and work by Kin which we intend to continue as long as you will allow us to.”
Members of council assured the Kinsmen that their contributions to Memorial Park are recognized and appreciated.
“This is an ideal time to show appreciation on behalf of council for the many other projects that you take on in the community,” offered Councillor Shirley Keaveney. “I know the Kin have organized Santa Claus parades for many many years, all the years you did the fireworks, and I know there's many other projects.”
Keaveney also noted the positive impact the annual Kin Kamp has on local businesses, with Kin Kampers visiting Meaford's retail establishments during the event.
Mayor Barb Clumpus noted that, with the current contract running until 2022, there is plenty of time for discussion prior to negotiating a new contract. White agreed, and he noted that the intent of the presentation was to ensure that when those negotiations happen, accurate information is available to all concerned.