Les Cèdres does away with Base de Plein Air summer camp
A popular Les Cèdres children's day camp that has run for years at the Base de Plein Air des Cèdres will no longer be a summertime fixture for kids from the region.
The municipality of Les Cèdres, which operated and financed the camp, has decided shut down the program and offer its residents a daycampat an alternative location.
Base de Plein Air des Cèdres will remain open but will be available on a rental basis only to camps and groups from across the region and beyond.The decision was made for financial reasons, said Les Cèdres director general, Mario Besner.
"It cost us a lot of money in wages for our animators and in building maintenance but more than 80-percent of the children who came to the camp came from othermunicipalities," he said.
Besner said of the approximate 400 children who were registered for the camp last summer only about 85 lived in Les Cèdres, a town of a littlemore than 6,000 residents.
"Though we like children verymuch, it's a question of money... it is people who live in Les Cèdres who pay most of the activities for people who come from outside of the town," he explained.
Last year, the town hired and paid between 50 and 60 animators, while it spent $250,000 on building maintenance.
"The amount we are losing is bigger each year so we had to make the move," Besner said, adding, "We can't ask people who live in Les Cèdres to pay for other children."
In an effort to be more financially responsible, the town will offer a day camp for its youngest residents.
Besner says it will be based at a number of facilities in the town centre including the community centre, tennis courts, soccer fields and parks. In addition, since Les Cèdres has an agreement with Salaberryde-Valleyfield, registered campers will have access at the Saint-Timothée beach.
Meanwhile, Base de Plein Air des Cèdres will be available on a rental basis to groups, corporations or any summer camps wanting access to the site that includes an Olympic size swimming pool, a rock climbing wall, nature trails, archery and a number of outdoor recreation sites.
Reservations are already starting to fill up, Besner noted. But the news is not good for everyone. Since Les Cèdres will only need to hire 15 or 20 camp animators for its municipal program, another 30 or so camp counsellors will be out of jobs.
In the wake of the closure notice, towns like Saint-Lazare recently sent a notice to resident reminding them of their own municipal summertime day camp programs.