KILDARE -- The president of the Alberton Community Development Corporation can hardly wait for May. That’s when Camp Kildare reopens to the public after a five-year hiatus.
The facility had been a going concern for many years. It first opened in 1973 by the West Prince Camp Association. Scouts Canada assumed ownership of the property in 1981 and operated it for 28 years. It’s been idle since 2009.
Development Corporation president, Sharon Gallant said her organization made application to acquire the property from the provincial government in 2011 and the transaction was completed last June. Renovations to the camp have been going on all winter and are due to be completed mid-March.
Camp Kildare is just outside of Alberton, in Leavitt’s Lane from Route 12.
The original lodge was 24 by 100 feet; the renovated one has been cut down in size to, 24 by 52, with a 12 by 28 foot screened-in area at the front.
Gallant said the corporation just could not come up with the funding to keep and renovate all of the old lodge.
“We’re presenting this as a rustic lodge.” Gallant said, indicating the corporation hopes it will be in demand by church groups, sports organizations and for reunions and special events. It can sleep 24 - 12 in each bunkroom. The common area, which houses a kitchen, dining area and washrooms is between the bunkrooms.
The total cost of the project, including furnishings, is $192,300. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency provided $87,500 and the Province of P.E.I. contributed $70,000, leaving the development corporation responsible for the remaining $34,800. Gallant said they have already come up with $9,000 through fundraising, funding partners and sponsorships.
The fact that the facility is wheelchair accessible, including roll-in showers, has won favour with some sponsoring bodies, Gallant noted.
A capital campaign directed primarily at the business community, will be starting soon. Two other fundraisers are in the works, a concert at the Albert and Crown on April 12 with blues performers Katey Day and Theresa Melanfant, and a Camp Kildare Open Golf Tournament at Mill River Golf Course on June 7.
Gallant said the corporation will continue to grow the camp. A playground equipment fundraiser will be carried out once the current commitment is realized, and walking trails will be cut through the woods.
Although Camp Kildare is a waterfront camp, and canoes and kayaks can be launched from there, Gallant said there are no plans to develop water-related programming.
Although initial plans are to operate the camp yearly from May to November, Gallant said the corporation is open to the possibility of keeping it open year-round, making it available to outfitters, sports teams etc. The building is winterized.
The corporation is hoping to hire an events coordinator/marketing person to promote the camp. Gallant said the corporation will also be working with Alberton Recreation and other groups to discover ways those groups can utilize the camp’s facilities, such as in organizing activities for youth or seniors.