MELFORT— Melfort Campsite will remain closed for camping in the foreseeable future, the sites being utilized by essential contract workers who are operating in the area.
“At present we have booked out almost all of our spaces to essential contract workers who will be working in the region over the summer,” said Brent Lutz, Melfort’s director of development, planning and community relations.
This city first began booking contract workers at the site before the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan was introduced.
“The City of Melfort had reached out to the Business Advice Line to see whether or not a campground could be considered an accommodation for essential workers,” he said. “There are a number of contractors, whether they be municipal contracts or utility services, etc., that the province had identified were essential work.”
Under the Re-open Saskatchewan Plan, as of June 1, campgrounds are allowed to be open for reservations by Saskatchewan residents.
Campgrounds will be required to leave every other campsite unavailable for booking, operating at 50 per cent maximum capacity.
“We would only be able to book every other site, and as a result the capacity of our campground would be reduced significantly,” Lutz said.
He added that by only accommodating essential workers, and not allowing recreational camping, the Melfort Campsite doesn’t have to follow those regulations and can operate at a higher capacity.
“They’re having to follow strict procedures in their workplace and in their accommodation area, and therefore the recreational camping regulations don’t apply in that case,” he said.
“At this point, we can’t accept recreational campers because we would have to close every other campsite, and we just wouldn’t be able to accommodate hardly anyone then. So it just makes more practical sense at this point in time to only be open for essential workers.”
The site’s showers and bathrooms remain closed, requiring all contractors’ sites to be self-contained.
Lutz said the city will reevaluate reopening the sites for recreational camping on, or before, July 13.
“It’s great that we’ve going to maintain our revenue at the campground, however our big motivation here is there are a number of contracts both [in] the city, major projects that we’ve tendered for work this year, and also even in the region for surrounding communities… It will enable those projects to go ahead and it will be for the betterment of the region.”