Camp closes due to deterioration of buildings
BARRACHOIS — The YMCA of Cape Breton will not operate Camp Barrachois this year due to the deterioration of a number of buildings.
The camp is located on the shore of the Bras d’Or Lakes at Ironville, along provincial trunk route 223.
Andre Gallant, CEO of the YMCA of Cape Breton, said a thorough inspection recently exposed a number of risks that required a long-term approach to resolving.
“Most of the buildings are 70 years old. We regret we have to take this step, but rot has set into structural elements of the cabins and main lodge, and the safety of our children and staff is our first priority.”
Built in the 1940s by the Sydney Y's Men club, and donated to the YMCA in the 1970s, Camp Barrachois has provided overnight camping experiences for thousands of children and youth from across Cape Breton. Swimming, kayaking, and learning about the natural environment have been mainstays of the camp’s programming over the years.
Hugh Tweedie, co-chair of the board of the Y, attended camp for several summers as a child.
“ What I remember most was the feeling of adventure, being away from my parents and the opportunity to explore the woods. Of course, I remember the people I met. Many of the friends I have today date back to when I attended camp as a seven-year-old.”
The YMCA will take the next year to conduct a study on the long-term camping market in Cape Breton in order to evaluate the type of camp the Y should offer in the future. From that study, a strategic plan will be created.
“ We are fortunate that we can still offer a YMCA overnight camping experience in 2010, although not on Cape Breton Island,” Gallant said. “Big Cove YMCA Camp, operated by the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth, has invited campers from Cape Breton.” Founded in 1889, Big Cove YMCA Camp is the oldest residential camp in Canada. It is located on Merigomish Harbour in Pictou County.
Michael LeDuc, director of Big Cove YMCA Camp, will be in Sydney, Wednesday, from 11 a.m.. to 1 p.m. Families can visit the Sydney Branch (entering via the Wentworth Street door) between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
LeDuc will be will be at the YMCA located within the Civic Centre, 600 Reeves Street, Port Hawkesbury, Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to distribute program information and answer questions regarding the program.
Further information is available at www.bigcove.org and from the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth website at www.ymcahalifax.ca by clicking programs & services. As with Camp Barrachois, Big Cove YMCA Camp offers financial support to those families who are willing but unable to pay the full fees.