FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How did the Adopt-a-Site come to be? This program was first developed to help offset the cost of some critical site electrical repairs needed in one area of the Park. Initially, there were 19 sites dedicated to the program. Members could set up for the entire summer without having to move by paying a fee. The monies collected were used to perform repairs. The program was perceived to be so useful to Members that due to popular demand, it was continued in following years and is now an integral revenue stream in our operating budget.
2. How did the Three-Year-Site program come to be? Several years ago, there were some major capital projects to be undertaken. As with all Capital projects, a funding formula was needed. There was such a tremendous demand for the Adopt-a-Site program that the Board of Directors decided to offer a program having a longer term for a higher fee. All monies received would go towards funding these costly Capital projects. Today, the Three-YearSite program has grown in popularity and continues to be used to help offset some of our larger Capital projects which helps reduce the cost to the membership as a whole.
3. Why is it against the rules to tie ropes and bungees to trees? This rule has been around a long time and was put in place to help protect our most important asset - our trees. The majority of our trees are spruce, tamarack and pine. A rope or bungee will cut through the protective bark and cause the tree to bleed sap. This will cause damage to the tree which could possibly shorten its life span. Also, when ropes and bungees are tied to trees, tarps and clotheslines follow which negatively impact the visual aesthetics of our beautiful Resort.
4. Why is it against the rules for children under 8 years old to be in the Hot Tubs? Years ago the Regional Health Authority advised the management of Wilderness Village that young people (under 8 years old) are especially susceptible to bacteria such as pseudomonas aeruginosa and coliforms because of their yet to be developed immune systems and the potential trauma to developing internal organs. Unlike private residential hot tubs, our commercial hot tubs have nearly non-stop usage by a variety of people. Although we take extraordinary efforts to maintain our recreational water to the highest level of quality, there still remains a high concentration of bacteria potentially dangerous to young children. Several years ago a resolution was passed at an AGM to follow the health authority's advice and create a rule regarding restricting children under 8 from using the Hot Tubs. This Resolution was challenged at a following AGM meeting but was retained.
5. Why do we allow public campers into Wilderness Village? The Board and Management of the Resort have always strived to develop alternative sources of revenue to help offset Member's annual dues. Each year our site inventory has shown a significant number of unoccupied sites which created a financial opportunity to receive revenue from the public sector. Carefully managed, this income has amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually while never preventing Members from finding a usable site available.
6. What does it mean to be a Five Star Resort? This designation is given to Resorts such as ours that have many of the most desirable amenities at their facility, such as swimming pools, cabin rentals, organized recreational activities, horseback riding and large spacious campsites. Our Resort is inspected and rated each year by an independent organization that assesses campgrounds and resorts throughout North America.
7. Why does Wilderness Village only provide split firewood? We buy our wood from local contractors who have mill equipment that cuts, splits and loads firewood on a conveyor into their commercial truck or trailer. These contractors also sell wood to other campgrounds and customers in the same manner which seems to be preferred because it can be processed and delivered quickly. We continue to purchase our firewood at wholesale rates due to their automated systems which do not accommodate whole logs. In the past we purchased whole logs which were scrap from logging operations. They contained much debris and dirt which accumulated in our bins and had to be constantly removed by our staff.
8. What can Service Cards at Wilderness Village be used for? They can be used for services such as towing, honey runs and site plow outs. They can be purchased in increments from one to ten services at whatever the current rate is per service.
9. How can we reduce banking fees charged to the Resort? When Members use their credit cards the Resort is charged a service fee which means that we do not receive all of the amount of the transaction. Credit Card fees vary from bank to bank with the highest fees occurring on cards that offer points. Annual banking fees represent a significant amount of our operating budget which in turn affects our annual dues. In order to keep our banking fees to a minimum, Members are requested to use their debit card in person, issue a cheque, set up online banking or perform an e-Transfer®. If a credit card is your only option, using it in person at the office results in a lower bank charge than over the phone.
10. Does Wilderness Village have a suggestion box for suggesting revenue ideas? Yes. It is located at the office to the left of the front door.
11. What do Membership Fees pay for and how are they determined?
Major expenses are: Staff- 49%, Recreation- 7%, Credit Card Fees- 2%, Waste & Sewage Removal- 9%, Utilities (Gas & Power)- 10%, Taxes & Insurance- 5%, Firewood- 7%, Other- 11%
Utilities increase all the time. Their raw rate may remain fairly flat however the delivery fees and carbon tax charges for both gas and electricity increase on a regular basis. Taxes usually increase whenever property is assessed and insurance rates go up after years when the industry experiences high claims (the past several years). Salaries and wages have gone up each year for the last few years due partially to the annual increases to the Alberta minimum wage. This also affected staff who earn more than minimum wage because their wage increased when the minimum wage did in order to protect their wage equity. More demand for service directly affects the size of our required work force, especially in the summer.
The Management and Board of Wilderness Village have taken care within the budget process, to ensure that there is enough revenue to support the services that our Members have become accustomed to receiving. As approved at our 2018 AGM, we have an Expense budget for 2019 of $2,260,557. With 770 active Members, that means that each Member is responsible for roughly $2,936 of costs. With annual dues set at $1,200 for 2019 we have a shortfall of $1,736 per Member that we make up with Public revenue and via various other means. This means that the Membership dues account for roughly 41% of our costs, with the rest made up through other means.