Mill River Resort announces campground closing

The campgrounds at the Mill River Resort are being closed to make way for chalets that will be privately owned.For more than a decade, Scott Barlow has spent every summer with his family at the resort's campground in western P.E.I.But on Friday evening, he said he received a call from staff who informed him the campground would no longer be in operation.  Barlow said he was shocked to hear the news. "It was our … quiet place, where we went to enjoy life." > We've made so many memories there over the years. — Alicia Shea, camperBarlow said staff apologized to him over the telephone."The community up there is quite upset over this."'A business decision'Geoffrey Irving, president of Mill River Resort, said the idea of nixing the campground has been discussed over the last few months, but the final decision to shut it down was made a few weeks ago."We really just started notifying our few seasonal campers and people who had made reservations for the summer last week," Irving said.Barlow said he understands, but is still disappointed."I get it, it's a business decision, they own the place now. They can do with it as they wish, it's in their control," he said."But most people were under the impression that whenever they took over that it was going to be great for locals because they were going to do improvements."A year-round destinationIrving said the decision was part of the resort's focus on accommodations other than the hotel — to make it a year-round destination. The chalets being built will be privately owned, to be lived in year-round or as vacation homes.He said the owners can rent those homes out if they wish and the resort can help facilitate.> We're really devastated and heartbroken at the fact that we can't have this campground to stay at. — Alicia Shea, camper"At the end of the day we decided to focus on that as more of a four-season offering," Irving said. "The campground obviously is a seasonal product and is really only open for four months of the year."The staff that worked at the campground will be sticking around."It was our maintenance crew that took care of and maintained the campground," Irving said. "We will still have to maintain that area so there will be no jobs lost."Irving said he thanks those who have frequented the campground over the years and he hopes other campgrounds in the area can accommodate them.'Heartbroken'Alicia Shea said her mother also received a call from the resort on Friday. Shea said her family has been using the campground for several years.She said the issue is about more than losing an affordable, local getaway during the summer months."We've made so many memories there over the years. We held birthday parties there for my children, my six-year-old daughter learned how to ride her bike … we did so much there as a family," Shea said. Shea said she wishes the resort would have made the decision to still maintain a portion of the campground area while going ahead and repurposing the rest of the property.  "I feel that they could have had enough land to be able to build their chalets and their cabins to expand the resort to the high-end resort that they're looking to expand it to, but still be able to have enough campground section open to still accommodate their locals," she said."Us as a family, my children and my niece, we're really devastated and heartbroken at the fact that we can't have this campground to stay at this summer and continue to build memories."More CBC P.E.I. news

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