It looks like Camp Alliwannado will return for an eleventh year of fun for area kids but the summer-long camp at Tavistock’s Queens Park will have a different appearance next year.
East Zorra-Tavistock staff met with owner Annie Rowland last week to propose a new agreement on the space used for the camp which for many parents represents childcare in the summer where few other options are available. An update was provided on the construction schedule for the new Tavistock Spray Pad, along with a layout of the available space and rental rates for the camp to consider for its 2024 program.
The proposed area would include the Tavistock Agricultural Pavilion and adjacent green space between it and the walking trail through Queen’s Park. Kitchen space at the Memorial Hall would be available when the camp offers prepared food. The township is also offering the arena washrooms on that would be updated and designated for use by the camp exclusively during the day.
In her report to council at this week’s meeting, EZT Chief Administrative Officer Karen DePrest said the update she provided on the camp will be the last one, and there is no wiggle room on what the township has laid out. “This booking is no different than any other booking. It is not a negotiation. She is no different than anyone else. We charge them the rates that are posted on the township’s website.”
Rowland said Camp Alliwannado has been based out of the Queens Park pavilion since its inception and naturally she is disappointed but is ready to move on. “Things change. EZT are clear that they want us to remain in Tavistock and they are working hard to meet the needs of the camp while also balancing the use of all facilities. We get that. We were worried that the proposed site for the spray pad would mean a change for us.”
In addition to the spaces offered by the township, Rowland said she hopes to consult with the Thames Valley District School Board. “We are taking some time to map out the proposed space for summer 2024. We are trying to connect with the school board to learn if we can continue using the soccer fields during the summer months. We also would like access to the school’s back forest in order to have more shade as the current proposal doesn’t have a lot trees. We’ve rented the soccer fields from the school board the last couple of years in an effort to reduce our footprint on the Queens Park green space.”
Rowland added the township has been a willing to listen to what she has to say. “I believe (EZT) is open to our feedback. We have had good discussions with several councillors, and we had a productive walkthrough of the new proposal with the leadership team. We haven’t been given a date to decide, but we will stay in contact with EZT as we work through the logistics of a different camp layout.” The township has also told Rowland she would be allowed to put up temporary storage and a portable office space for the summer months. “This would allow us to have our materials near the small pavilion.”
Perhaps the most asked question other than would there be a camp next year is will there be a reduced number of spots for children. Rowland added that is up in the air right now. “We aren’t sure on number of campers. The township isn’t imposing a limit, but we need to map out what we can actually do with the space proposal. Short answer, probably less. We were 150 this year and it could be closer to 100 in 2024. It also depends on where we get with the school board.”
The Memorial Hall will be utilized in case of a weather event. If scheduled, pickleball would be cancelled.
By Lee Griffi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Oct 05, 2023 at 15:06