YMCA harvests logs for cash

Carla Allen callen@thevanguard.ca
Published on August 22, 2012

Logging on land that was gifted to the Yarmouth YMCA next to Camp Wapomeo is nearing completion.

Yvonne Smith, CEO for the three YMCAs in western Nova Scotia, says the trees selected and cut by a local woodsman were cut because they were falling or nearly ready to come down and the income is needed.

The decision to cut the wood was made previous to the decline in forestry.

“It generated a bit of income. That was part of the plan,” said Smith.

“We had projected that it would be a bit more, but that was when we felt there was more of a market for it. We’re really looking at all different ways for revenue generation at the Y.”

The YMCA held a community meeting earlier this year for input and to provide information on the logging that would be taking place.

The work is noticeable along the driveway approach to the camp, with a new side-road branching off for access to the tiers of logs.

“Some people might think this work was extreme, but it was certainly an opportunity for us to generate some revenue without doing any harm,” said Smith, who did not want to say how much revenue was raised.

The future of Camp Wapomeo is still up in the air.

“Right now it is something, that, at a board level, is being discussed and looked at. Of course, we’re having to step back and look at the larger, strategic plan and the direction we need to take as the Yarmouth YMCA,” she said.

“We need to look at everything we can do to be sustainable. Right now that camp is being reviewed and looked at, but there have been no plans made as yet.”

A maintenance person takes care of the grounds and checks on the property regularly.

Camp Wapomeo was closed in the summer of 2009, when blue-green algae became a problem in Lake Fanning and water activities came to a halt.

Although the camp was used for a few rentals in 2010, the continued lack of a water source did not allow that in 2011.

The blue-green algae pollution continues to reappear, making waterfront usage impossible.

The YMCA was one of several organizations that signed a letter to Premier Darrell Dexter requesting that the government look at enforcing regulations associated with pollution control associated with mink farms.

The year 2010 was the first since 1921 that Wapomeo did not open for summer campers.

A peer review, conducted in December 2009, recommended closing the camp for five years. Former CEO Barrie MacGregor (who retired in December 2010) was against that, believing the structures would deteriorate over that time.