WESTLOCK – Echo Lake Family Campground has been sold for $255,000 with the deal closing on April 1.
The 55-acre property once owned by Westlock County, was recently purchased by the Westlock-based business, Diverse Bridges, a local construction company co-owned by Adam Esch.
“The county has owned the campground for a number of years … somewhere during the budget process it was suggested that the county might want to look at disposing of the property,” said county interim CAO Pat Vincent.
Given that direction, staff advertised the property last fall and received a couple of inquiries and one offer, noted Vincent. The original offer was rejected, and although the property was up for sale for several months, the process progressed very quickly.
“We received a second offer for it, which met all of the conditions that had been set out by council, so we entered into an agreement to sell the property to the party that expressed interest,” said Vincent.
The Echo Lake Family Campground is located on the east side of the county, east of Vimy. Vincent noted several reasons for the sale, including the cost of operating the smaller campground.
“I think the time and effort that was being extended by the county staff in looking after the operation and maintenance of it, was part of the contributing factors for the decision to look at selling the property,” he said.
Esch is the former recreation coordinator for the county and is familiar with the campground and surrounding land. They bought the campground, believing “it’s a good investment” and intend to keep it as a recreational property for families to enjoy.
They are already planning for some improvements and changes to the property.
One of those changes includes expanding the number of RV sites available from 12 to 40 this year.
“We do plan expanding that number up to 40 this year. There’s more room to expand and we’ll probably expand next year as well,” said Esch. “We’ve hit the ground running — we are bringing our equipment out there, clearing some snow and Friday (April 8) we are finalizing where we are putting the extra 28 sites.”
With Esch’s experience in establishing unique, outdoor recreation areas, he plans to put his expertise to good use.
“I think this will be a good thing for the area. A campground like this typically has the effect of increasing the tourism revenue of the region,” said Esch, noting several local tourist attractions in the area. “I think all this will benefit from bringing people in.”
With the expansion, there will be several new features and amenities added, including a two-acre, off-leash dog park, extra-large RV sites with added space between RV spots, multiple camping units per site, plus a fire pit, picnic table and power to each site, including multi-plugged powered sites. There will be watchable wildlife areas and other recreational spots for users of the campground.
“We plan on putting in about a kilometre and a half of walking trails on the site,” said Esch. “We’re going to try and put a beach on it as well, we’re just working on approvals with the province for that.”
Vincent said the county is pleased to see the campground sold and remain as a local attraction.
“Council and administration are very pleased that we were able to sell the property and that the party that purchased it is familiar with it, and that they’re going to continue to operate it as a campground,” said Vincent. “I think it continues to provide a service that hadn’t been provided for at least the last year.”