Sale of campground a by product of a much bigger problem

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Who will take over once the service clubs have disappeared?

That is a question that once again has come to mind after the Barrhead Leader received a call from a person who was concerned about the sale of Elks Beach Campground in Lac La Nonne.

The popular campground was owned and run by the Barrhead Elks Club, from what I understand, almost from its beginnings in the 1940s.

And while I understand why many of the families who, because of the sale, may no longer be able to spend their summers on the shores of Lac La Nonne, I am finding it hard to sympathize.

Yes, it is true that many of these families, spent many summers at Lac La Nonne and made improvements to their lots, but still they are only temporariy residents and didn’t have a long term lease.

Seasonal residents at the camp, rented spots on a yearly basis and although they were asked to pay a deposit if they wanted to return the next year, it should have never been takens as a given. Why? Because campground users don’t own the lots. The Elks, as long as they followed the laws of the land, were always free to change the purpose of the land or sell it outright, and that’s what they have done here.

What really should concern area residents is why the club decided to divest themselves.

Elk’s president Bruce McLean said one of the major factors in the club’s decision for putting the campground up for sale was because of an aging and declining membership and could no longer do the work necessary for its upkeep.

That is sad and alarming at the same time.

The Elks have done a number of wonderful things for the community.

In September, they donated $100,000 towards the Barrhead and District Agrena’s aquatic centre fundraising efforts in exchange for naming rights to the competition pool.

While that is a sizeable contribution, it pales when one considers all of the other community projects that wouldn’t have taken place if it were not for the Elks, such as the kitchens in the Agrena and Seniors Drop-In Centre.

Then there are all the other service clubs, of which the majority, are facing the problem of an aging and declining membership. Once again, I ask if these clubs fold who is going to step in to fill the void?

Unfortunately, more than likely the void will remain unfilled.

In today’s world, there is no shortage of things competing for our attention. As many readers know, I am an amateur radio operator, who at one time volunteered his time and skills to various organizations from search and rescue, to the emergency operations centre’s communication unit in any community I happened to be living in.

Today, that is no longer the case because I simply don’t have the time. And this is the problem all our service clubs have to deal with.

However, luckily for us, in this situation the Elks still exist and whatever funds they received from the sale, will go back into the community.

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