Williams Lake Stampede Association aiming to expand campground

Court Smith, president of the Williams Lake Stampede Association stands where the association is planning to expand its campground behind the curling rink in a former ball diamond. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune.Court Smith, president of the Williams Lake Stampede Association stands where the association is planning to expand its campground behind the curling rink in a former ball diamond. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune.
A map showing where the Williams Lake Stampede Association hopes to expand its campground. (City of Williams Lake image)A map showing where the Williams Lake Stampede Association hopes to expand its campground. (City of Williams Lake image)

The Williams Lake Stampede Association is planning to expand its campground into the area that used to be a fastball diamond at Stampede Park.

In recent years the ball diamond behind the curling club has been used as overflow camping during Stampede weekend.

The association is planning to add 40 more full-service camping spots in the ball field.

Association president Court Smith appeared as a delegation at the regular council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20 and said the upgrade would make it possible to offer 96 stalls in total, making it one of the largest campgrounds in the Cariboo.

“It’s well located. It ties in with an easy walk to the city centre, your trail system that you are working on, the new bridge to Scout Island,” Smith told council. “We see it as a great opportunity to build tourism in the area.”

Smith said he already met with the City’s engineering department to find out where the water lines are located, which a local contractor needed to put together an estimate for the expansion.

It will cost approximately $800,000 or $20,000 per site for sewer, water, electrical Wi-Fi infrastructure and landscaping costs.

Council agreed unanimously to write a letter of support for a grant application the association is submitting and to add the expansion of the campground into the existing long-term lease the City has with the Stampede Association.

Mayor Cobb said he thought it was a great idea.

“It would certainly be an asset. I noticed this year there were times when people were parked all over down there because the campground was full,” Cobb said.

Smith said the Cariboo is becoming more popular as a gateway to the west, for fishing and outdoor activities and bringing in more and more people.

Coun. Scott Nelson said what the Stampede Association did over the last year was incredible during COVID-19 by hosting events even though the Stampede was cancelled.

“Kudos for you for that fantastic leadership,” Nelson said.

Read more: Rotary, Williams Lake Stampede Association supports Hough Memorial Cancer Society

When asked if the Stampede will go ahead in 2021, Smith replied “we can only hope,” and the association will continue planning as it normally would.

“We will see what happens,” Smith added.

“If the public health restrictions remain the same, we will really have to do a readjust in the spring. As Scott alluded to, we did so some events down there and we will try to do others. We want to see things happen down there — it only adds to our tourism and activities in town.”

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