A-Soo-Wuh-Um to become campsite again
After a seven-year hiatus, A-Soo-Wuh-Um campground will soon offer overnight camping once again.
Red Deer County council agreed June 5 to enter into a long-term lease agreement with Chris Demers and Craig Masley, who plan to rebuild the campground to standard and allow for overnight camping. A-Soo-Wuh-Um is located on the Red Deer River by the Highway 592 bridge.
“It's a shame it hasn't been used in the last few years,” said Div. 3 Coun. Penny Archibald of the campsite that was turned into a day area after the flooding of the Red Deer River in 2005.
“But it will be again. I'm happy,” she said.
“The biggest plus is it’s basically at no cost to the county,” added Div. 4 Coun. David Hoar.
After public demand and interest to see the recreation area turned back into a campground, the county put out a request for proposal in January 2010 but didn't receive any submissions, a report to council explains. The request was put out again this year after hearing inquiries once again from the public. This time, one proposal was received.
Demers and Masley constructed and now operate the Westerner Campground year-round facility.
As part of their proposal, the partners will rebuild the campground while still allowing day use for recreational users wanting to gain access to the river. All capital costs and associated costs to rebuild will be theirs as well as all costs of running the campground, including operation, maintenance, administration and marketing. In return they asked for a long-term lease to recoup their investment.
Administration estimates the only costs to the county will be the legal fees from establishing the lease agreement, valued at approximately $2,500.
Once the lease is formalized, construction will begin with the intent to open for the 2013 camping season.
“Since I’ve sat on council in ’97 we have been looking for an operator,” said Div. 6 Coun. George Gehrke. “I’m looking forward to the new relationship.”