THUNDER BAY – Leaders Ledger – The closure of the roller coaster at Chippewa and the removal of the remaining historic log cabins at the Tourist Camp is not something that The Friends of Chippewa Park or myself are celebrating. Regretfully, both are at the end of their useful lives. The Coaster is over 60 years old and years of welding of the track and the cars has reached a point where it is no longer safe to repair. We can’t put our children’s lives at risk.
As for the historic cabins, – built between 1928 & 1932 – no one is sadder than I that they are being eliminated – I grew up in one. The logs are rotten, the doors don’t fit anymore letting in all sorts of critters and too many people were demanding their money back once they checked in and saw what condition the cabins were in.
TFOCP attempted a couple of years ago to get Provincial funding to replace the cabins (on top of the funding they got for the 7 new cabins, the RV Park and the upgrades to electrical and water systems and the new visitor centre) but were turned down. Replacement cabins cost in the range of $70,000. We have been knocking down the old cabins at the rate of one or two a year and have reached the point where they all must come down. Existing reservations will be honoured this summer and the cabins removed in the fall.
On a go forward basis, TFOCP are working with the City to find alternatives for the amusement rides, including protecting the remaining assets – particularly the historic merry-go-round. We hope to have discussions with traveling amusement ride companies such as the one that brings their equipment to the Kakabeka Street Fair each year to have them bring in new rides each year. We are also looking at how to add additional cabins at the Tourist Camp.
By the way, at the most there has been one or two tent sites eliminated over the years (where the new cabins are) The rest of the tenting sites are the same as when I lived at the Tourist Camp in the 1960’s.
Hope this helps people understand what is happening at the Park this year.