THUNDER BAY – A lot of work has come together in a great way to preserve the Wilderness Discovery Camp in Shebandowan. Effective August 11, 2017, ownership of the property and buildings formerly leased by the Handicapped Action Group Inc. (HAGI) to run the HAGI Wilderness Discovery Camp were transferred from the Government of Ontario through Infrastructure Ontario to the new owners, Wilderness Discovery Handi-Capable Inc. The new ownership group is comprised of the four area rotary clubs, Thunder Bay, Fort William, Port Arthur, Lakehead and Nipigon as well as the Hill City Kinsmen Club and
First, after a lot of effort from people across the region, effective August 11, 2017, ownership of the property and buildings formerly leased by the Handicapped Action Group Inc. (HAGI) to run the HAGI Wilderness Discovery Camp were transferred from the Government of Ontario through Infrastructure Ontario to the new owners, Wilderness Discovery Handi-Capable Inc.
“It was an extremely satisfying day when I was able to announce that a deal was reached between the new ownership group and the Province, that would keep the Wilderness Discovery Camp open. The new Wilderness Discovery Handi-Capable Centre ownership group is comprised of leaders in our Community who have stepped up time and time again to support a variety of key initiatives that have contributed to the quality of life for people living in Thunder Bay and the region. They have a vision and plan for the Centre that will lead to not only the sustainability of the Centre, but which will also contribute towards the important work of promoting inclusion and creating opportunities for people with disabilities. I look forward to a bright future for the Centre and I want to thank the new ownership group for their dedication and commitment to supporting people living with disabilities,” says MPP Bill Mauro, Thunder Bay-Atikokan.
The new ownership group is comprised of the four area Rotary clubs, Thunder Bay, Fort William, Port Arthur, Lakehead, and Nipigon along with the Hill City Kinsmen Club and Westfort Kiwanis. The Group has a board of directors consisting of one member from each of the service clubs, one from the Shebandowan campers associations and one member from HAGI.
The Group has a board of directors consisting of one member from each of the service clubs, one from the Shebandowan campers associations and one member from HAGI.
The Camp originally called the H.A.G.I. Wilderness Discovery Camp has been renamed by the new ownership group, The Wilderness Discovery Handi-Capable Centre. The Centre’s new Board of Directors is working towards reopening the Camp in the June of 2018.
The new ownership group’s plan is to broaden the user base for the Facility from the previous HAGI Camp era, where the Camp was primarily used by people with physical disabilities. The Group’s new plan will see them marketing to a wider range of people with disabilities. The plan also includes working with veterans groups and a variety of other agencies that work with people with disabilities.
The Camp will be the first in Ontario to offer affordable quality camping and outdoor recreation to such a broad range of people with disabilities.
Work has already begun to refurbish the cabins in an effort to bring everything up to the new building code and Accessible Ontarians with Disabilities Act standards. Individuals or groups, interesting in helping out can contact Bob Hookham at email@example.com
A Public Awareness Day will be held this fall to invite user groups, and the general public, out to provide their input on how the facility can best meet the needs of the people using the camp. A Contractors Day will also take place for local companies interested in providing provide quotes on required work.
“On behalf of the organization, we worked in concert with MPP Bill Mauro and Infrastructure Ontario and came up with a plan. In the short-term, we will work to rebuild the resort to make it equal to-and better than it has been in the past. Negotiations took almost two years, and I was told by different government officials that this was one of the fastest ones they’ve seen. I commend the hard work from different organizations to make it happen… we did it as a collaborative effort. It’s not about doing this right; it was doing the right thing. Going forward, there will be lots of work within all of the different volunteers, community groups and professionals.,” says Bob Hookham, Chair of the Board, Wilderness Discovery Handi-Capable Centre.