Les Cèdres does away with Base de Plein Air summer camp

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

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.

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