By Alison Taylor
Riverside Campground has plans in the works to expand its campground operations and build a unique indoor/outdoor spa on site.
Council reviewed the plans publicly for the first time Monday night and while there was some support for the proposal, there were still several unanswered questions and details yet to be finalized.
“There’s a lot of work still to be done,” said Councillor Eckhard Zeidler.
Council gave the green light to staff to continue working on the rezoning application but asked to delay a public open house.
The five-star year-round RV and campground was built in 1999. A second phase on the east side of Fitzsimmons Creek, abutting Lost Lake Park, was always on the books.
Owner Nigel Woods is looking to change the zoning for phase two to allow more RV campsites, fewer walk-in tent sites, and some new yurt sites. The proposal also calls for a new 18,000 square foot spa facility.
The original zoning allows for a 740 square foot amenity building with a pool. The new proposal would see that building halved in size with no pool.
The spa is based on a concept from Mont Tremblant, Quebec, called Le Scandinave, where guests can enjoy the benefits of Scandinavian baths: outdoor whirlpools, Finnish sauna, Norwegian steam baths, thermal waterfalls and going for cold dips in the nearby river.
Owners of the spa opened a facility in Blue Mountain, Ontario in December.
Zeidler said he would be surprised if the spa would bring added competition to the 20 plus spas already in town.
Having lived in Europe for quite a few years, he understands the unique concept of the spa.
“These are destinations in themselves,” he said.
Councillor Gord McKeever saw the proposal as generally positive. He questioned how the spa water would be heated and commented that this is a setting that could benefit enormously from a sustainable energy model such as a district energy system.
Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden pointed to the outstanding staff concerns detailed in Monday’s report. In particular, she highlighted the need for a second bridge across Fitzsimmons Creek as per the fire requirements.