Canada’s National Capital Commission (NCC) wants to give its aged, 1960s-era campground at Lac Philippe a makeover to attract more campers, “glampers”  – that’s “glamorous campers” – and RV users, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

But a $6-million proposal to install electrical hookups at about half its sites, add more “ready-to-camp” cabins and yurts, and revamp the tired camp store was too rich for the NCC’s board of directors, who voted Wednesday (Jan. 20) to defer a decision on the project.

Board member Michael Poliwoda was one who questioned the cost, likening it to the Ferrari of campground upgrades.

The NCC says its 244-site Lac Philippe campground has seen a 20% drop in summertime use in the past four years, at the same time use at other campgrounds in Eastern Canada has increased.

But Gatineau Park’s campground is rustic: None of the sites has electrical hookups, nor do they accommodate recreational vehicles, something modern campers want, said Christie Spence, the NCC’s senior manager of natural resources and land management.

“Camping isn’t the same as it used to be,” she told the board. “People are less prepared to be uncomfortable.”

They also want electricity, if only to be able to charge their smartphones and other devices, she said.

The Lac Philippe campground is often below 40% capacity and draws most of its campers from the immediate Ottawa-Gatineau area. Upgrading it would help it draw more visitors and could make it a larger source of revenue, NCC staff members argued.

Faced with board opposition, NCC Executive Director Mark Kristmanson agreed to “withdraw into the woods” to rethink the proposal and conduct a more thorough study of the campground’s economic impact.

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