Deadline looms, as local Girl Guide campground makes a case to stay open

Earlier this year, the Girl Guides of Canada in Ontario announced they were looking to close all campground facilities in the province, as the venues were not bringing in enough profits. Since then, Camp Bryerswood near Amherstburg has been working on ways to stay in the black and show that the camp can stay afloat.

Camp Bryerswood has until Nov. 30 to justify sustainability of property to a provincial council

The Girl Guides of Ontario announced plans to sell all of their camps by 2020, including Camp Bryerswood near Amherstburg, Ont. (Caitlin Gonneau)

Earlier this year, the Girl Guides of Canada in Ontario announced they were looking to close all campground facilities in the province, as the venues were not bringing in enough profits.

Since then, Camp Bryerswood near Amherstburg has been working on ways to stay in the black, and show that the camp can stay afloat. They have until November 30 to make that case to the group's provincial council. 

"We have to try to figure out how we're going to keep the revenues up so we have enough revenues to cover expenses plus keep encouraging girls more and more to use our site," said Kathi Poupard, a Guider and chair on the Camp Bryerswood property committee.

Camp Bryerswood is situated on more than 11 hectares of property on Texas Road between Concession Road 6 and Howard Avenue and has been open for about 25 years. The camp has had modest profits over the years and is concentrating on increasing revenues by bringing in larger events on the property. 

"We're looking for new ideas all the time that's one of the other things we're working on," said Poupard. "Any plans that we can make to increase usage."

So far, the biggest challenge for the camp has been making sure they can afford any repairs to the property — something Poupard said the provincial council will be looking at when considering the affordability of keeping these properties open.

"One of our major concerns however is that we have two furnaces that are quite elderly and we're looking to replace those before they give out on us," said Poupard adding that the group is also looking to complete an energy audit to mitigate electricity costs. 

Camp Bryerswood is situated on more than 11 hectares of property on Texas Road between Concession Road 6 and Howard Avenue. (Google Maps)

Local volunteers will continue to meet this month to brainstorm other ideas to help keep the camp afloat. Once the Ontario campgrounds submit their plans, the provincial council will go over the details and a decision will come in February of 2018 about which properties will be closed. 

For now, Poupard hopes Camp Bryerswood isn't on the short list for closure.

"It's a little jewel, we're all very very proud of it...  it's been upgraded and made to look very nice for camping and for the girls to enjoy themselves, have fun and explore nature," she said. "Which is exactly the part of the program we want to keep going as much as possible."