With spring now here, many residents may be wondering what the Lakefield Campground will look like this season under the new operator, Otonabee Conservation (ORCA).
The Lakefield Herald was able to connect with ORCA’s, Chief Administrative Officer, Janette Loveys Smith to talk about what this new season will bring under the agreement between ORCA and Selwyn Township.
In 2022, ORCA took over operation of the campground, with the township maintaining ownership of the property.
Loveys Smith said that ORCA started to assume responsibilities for collection of the winter storage fees from seasonal campers back in November of 2022 as part of the operating agreement they have with the township.
She said that this gave them an opportunity to engage with seasonal camper and, explain some of the processes and establish communications while giving staff the opportunity to set up internal administrative processes.
“[This spring] ORCA and Township staff will be out at Lakefield Campground in order to get organized, ensure materials and set up is ready for the start of the May 15 camping season. ORCA is also in the process of hiring summer staff for the campground,” she explained.
As for updates to the campground, she said that no major changes are expected this year.
“Our focus is to ensure we are well organized, understand the nuances at the campground and provide excellent customer services. This first year will be an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the physical campground lands, visitors and campers needs so that if future changes are required it can be planned out appropriately.”
Loveys Smith said that she would like residents to know, as operators ORCA brings many years of experience operating campgrounds.
“We strive for excellent customer service and communications. We will continue to work collaboratively and cooperatively with the Township staff on joint matters as the campground is owned by the municipality.”
She also said that each one of the campgrounds ORCA operates is different, giving campers new, interesting and enjoyable camping experiences.
“Different levels of services available and different abilities to connect with nature. Our past record of successfully managing campground operations and administration is what is transferable.”
She said that ORCA staff are willing to assist campers where they are able and she wants people to feel welcome and connected to the area and staff as they take their duties and responsibilities earnestly.
“Lakefield is a beautiful part of our watershed and the campground’s location is both near the water and commercial services. ORCA is very excited about this new venture and look forward to a successful first year and long term partnership.”
For more information on the Lakefield Campground operations and what to expect from this season, visit otonabeeconservation.com.