The First 50 Years
The development of Lower Beverley Lake Park began in 1967 as a centennial project. At that time, the tourist industry in Leeds County was expanding tremendously. In 1957, it was estimated that there were 15 cottages on Lower Beverley Lake while in 1967, there were 280. Although Delta has long been recognized as an area of economic stability, it had not grown with the tourist industry and conversely its population has been declining. Like many small communities, Delta had suffered from the expansion of neighbouring urban centres such as Kingston, Brockville, Smiths Falls and Perth. In order to revitalize the community of Delta and its environs, it was felt that the stimulus could come from the tourism industry and the impetus through a locally developed park.
The first phase was the dredging of the Mill Creek and the purchase on an 85-acre parcel of land from Mr. Warren Henderson in 1967. A.R.D.A funded 75% of this phase while the remaining 25% was paid through a Centennial Grant. The dredged material from the Mill Creek was used as land fill and levelling material. The second phase in 1967 was the purchase of the Beverley Lake Camp from Mr. William Burega. This phase was funded 75% by A.R.D.A., 12.5% by Energy and Resources Ontario and 12.5% by the Township of Bastard and South Burgess.
The Council of the day appointed a Park Management Board in 1967. The Board, which was comprised of Chairman Gerald Cross, Secretary R.B. Butcher, and Directors Eldon Coon, Raymond Gamble, David Halladay, Rupert Halladay, Muriel Jones and Betty Ostrom, held their inaugural meeting on September 15th, 1967. All subsequent meetings were held on the 3rd Friday of each month starting at 8:00 p.m. in the Clerk’s Office.
The park was designated as an “Approved Park” by the Ontario Parks Integration Board on January 18th,1968 and by Order-In-Council number 615-68 dated February 15th, 1968, the Treasury Board approved a grant towards limited development work. The grant was to cover 50% of the total cost of converting a public camp and developing an Approved Park, up to a maximum of $100,000.
In March1968, the Council of the day contracted Canadian Mitchell Associates Ltd., Consulting Engineers and Town Planning to make a study and prepare a development plan for the park. The plan was presented to Council in June of 1968. The development plan included dividing the area into Park Use Zones, to provide facilities for administration, camping, beaches, games, picnicking, nature exploration, roadways, fencing, re-forestation, special day camps and a marina. Rates would include $2.00 per night without electricity and $2.50 per night with electricity.
The park was officially opened on August 5th, 1968 by Mr. Fred Lawson. Invited guests included M.P. Desmond Code, M.L.A. James Auld, John Matheson Q.C., Reeve Gerald Cross, Herb Crown, and Harry Christian. A chicken barbeque was prepared for 350 guests following the ceremony at a cost of $1.75 per plate.
The Superintendent’s residence was constructed, and one cottage was renovated into a day camp building in 1974.
1982 was the best year in the park’s history with record attendance and revenues cresting the $100,000 mark!
The former Brockville/Westport Railway, which ran through the park, was acquired by the municipality and a new workshop and storage building were constructed on site for staff use.
There were several capital upgrades completed in 1983 with the installation of new water lines and three water storage tanks along with the painting of all buildings. 14 campers enjoyed a new monthly camping rate.
New conceptual drawings were completed in 1984 for a new washroom / shower building which would be constructed behind the canteen. The Canadian Red Cross Swimming and Survival Program received 84 registrants for the summer program and an elementary school cross country run was held in the park with 310 students participating from eight different schools.
1987 saw the construction of the new washroom / shower building along with numerous projects being completed in the park with financial assistance from the UIC Section 38 grant from the Ministry of Employment and Immigration.
6 new streetlamps were installed in 1993 through the Streetlight Smart Lighting Initiative.
A record 80 players participated in the Labour Day horseshoe tournament.
In 1996, all cottages received new coloured flooring and pull-out sofa beds; washrooms were added to three units. A new piece of playground equipment was added for the enjoyment of the children. A new gate house and park office were constructed.
Seven new coin operated showers were added to the Main Service Centre in 1997 along with the creation of a new boat docking area which could hold up to 40 boats. The Lakersfield Ball Diamond was relocated to the park from the fair grounds.
Municipal amalgamation occurred in 1998 which saw the transfer of assets from the former Bastard and South Burgess Township to the new Township of Rideau Lakes. A major ice storm occurred in January of 1998 which damaged several trees, trailers, and buildings.
2002 - And Onward
In 2002, a new committee of Council was created to specifically deal with park related issues. In 2003, the committee was formally established through by-law as the Lower Beverley Lake Park Management Board. Operating as a separate entity from the municipality with an $800,000 budget, the Management Board which now employs 18 people during the peak operational period has reinvested $2,000,000 back into the park’s infrastructure for projects such as the following:
- Three phase electrical system upgrade
- 30-amp / 50-amp upgrades to sites
- Installation of a chlorination system
- Refurbishing of 8 cottages
- Construction of 3 cottages / 2 bunkies
- Construction of an arcade building
- Installation of tile drainage
- Nature trail refurbished
- Installation of new playground equipment
- Installation LED streetlights
- Powered entrance gates
- Construction of a canteen/washroom building for the ball diamond
- Expansion of the pavilion
- Restoration of the Mill Creek shoreline
- Celebrating the Season Christmas Program (2005-2020)
- Updated vehicle and equipment purchases