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Update on Tamaracouta Scout Reserve

March 06, 2024

The future of Tamaracouta Scout Reserve has been in question for many years, and we want to provide an update. We appreciate your ongoing patience, recognizing the process exploring Tamaracouta Scout Reserve’s future has been long. 

Back in 2019, we let members know that Tamaracouta Scout Reserve faced significant challenges  including usage, finances and infrastructure. As such, we would try to find a way to partner with a third-party that could make the site viable.

Following an in-depth engagement process of surveys, focus groups and interviews, alongside a transparent formal Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) to attempt to find creative solutions for sustaining the property, Scouts Canada’s Board of Governors has made the difficult decision to approve a mandate to sell Tamaracouta Scout Reserve, albeit with a view to protecting access for Scouts and recognizing how important environmental conservation is to our movement.  

Background 

  • Following years of successive financial hardship, a decision was made to temporarily close Tamaracouta Scout Reserve for the 2018/19 winter camping season. 
  • During the period of closure, a third-party asset management firm evaluated the property and found urgent structural and electrical repairs were needed for numerous municipal heritage buildings on the property, as well as the installation of a new septic system. These costs alone would come close to $2 million. 
  • In the fall of 2019, a townhall meeting was hosted by Scouts Canada to address the ongoing closure of the camp, where a series of financial, safety and environmental concerns were disclosed. 
  • Scouts Canada worked with Tamaracouta Scout Reserve stakeholders to further evaluate the situation and find potential solutions. Prior to moving forward with the Board of Governor’s approved mandate to sell the property, we explored all other potential solutions, including a formal REOI process; this is a transparent and objective way for Scouts Canada to hear from any organization, business, government, etc. to pitch their ideas for the future of the property. Ultimately, the REOI process did not yield solutions for a sustainable business model that could re-open Tamaracouta Scout Reserve.

Reasons to Sell

Due to significant financial, safety and environmental challenges, the property could no longer offer our Scouting community the opportunities it once had. Supported by the Quebec Council leadership and property society, the Board concluded that earnings from the sale could further Scouts Canada’s Mission in ways that retaining the property could not. 

Given we do not have the membership base to maintain the property (low demand for the property among Council membership), it is not possible to create a sustainable business model to preserve Tamaracouta Scout Reserve.   

A sale of the property does not mean we won’t work to retain access for young people. Furthermore, our commitment to environmental conservation has not changed. 

What's Next

Tamaracouta Scout Reserve is a historical Scouting landmark. It is a treasured destination where countless memories were made by Scouts—past and present, thanks to the adventures the area brought them. We don’t expect everyone to agree with this decision, but we will do our best to be transparent about the reasons behind it. 

As we continue discussions regarding a sale of Tamaracouta Scout Reserve (which are underway), three considerations will be at the forefront of our thinking.

  • Ability of a sale to support Scouting across Canada, while retaining around 10% of proceeds within Quebec Council
  • Working to secure continued access for young people and celebrating the Scouting heritage of Tamaracouta Scout Reserve.
  • The importance of conservation and environmental protection to the Scouting movement.

Scouts Canada will provide updates on the real estate process as key milestones are reached. 

Media Inquiries:

Anissa Stambouli
Anissa [dot] stambouli [at] scouts [dot] ca

FAQs

Scouts Canada’s Board of Governors has made the difficult decision to approve the mandate to sell Tamaracouta Scout Reserve. Due to various significant financial, safety and environmental challenges, the property could no longer offer our Scouting community the opportunities it once had.

Due to low demand for the property among Quebec Council membership, it was not possible to create a sustainable business model to preserve Tamaracouta Scout Reserve. In 2019 alone, the cost to complete urgent repairs was $1.5 million (now valued at close to $2 million with inflation). 

Given this, the Board concluded that earnings from the sale could further Scouts Canada’s Mission in ways that retaining the property could not. 

Recognizing Tamaracouta Scout Reserve’s legacy as the oldest operating Scout camp in the world, we did not set a pace for the sale process; our priority is a quality sale rather than a speedy one.  

Tamaracouta Scout Reserve is a property beloved by Scouting members, the surrounding communities and supporting associations. Our stakeholder engagement and sale process has been extensive to ensure Tamaracouta Scout Reserve is passed on to a buyer with Scouting-aligned values.

We remain steadfast in our values throughout the real estate process; as it is ongoing, we cannot speak to the identity of potential buyers who have submitted an expression of interest. We assure you that our considerations for environmental conservation, community impact, and creating future opportunities for youth have not changed.

No. Scouts Canada is committed to creating a sustainable, accessible portfolio of camps that meet members’ needs, ultimately improving program quality. Additionally, we are committed to ensuring that we are using financial resources responsibly – we want to invest in mission-aligned projects rather than incur costs on properties that are underutilized and/or require significant investment to meet required standards.

Following engagements with Quebec Council and the property society, Québec Provincial Council Inc, around 10% of the proceeds will stay within Quebec Council while the remainder will be used to benefit Scouting across Canada. Based on the needs of members, the funds could be used for investment into other viable Quebec camps, opportunities to grow Scouting in the province, enhanced program opportunities, improvements in the volunteer journey and more. For Scouting outside of Quebec, remaining funds will support furthering our Mission, including program quality and other areas of improvement.

Tamaracouta Scout Reserve receives five visits per week from the staff warden and ongoing property upkeep, including snow removal, grass-cutting and vehicle maintenance. 

Additionally, our Chief Executive Officer is in contact with the President of the local residents’ association, L’Association du lac Tamaracouta, to address property maintenance needs as they arise.