Buffalo Lake resort plans major expansion

Soaring demand for outdoor getaways is driving a major expansion at Ol’ MacDonalds Resort on Buffalo Lake.

Soaring demand for outdoor getaways is driving a major expansion at Ol’ MacDonalds Resort on Buffalo Lake.

An application to rezone 40 acres for 150 to 200 additional full-service campsites is awaiting final approval with Stettler County.

“We’re just in the planning stages right now. Hopefully, we can start moving a little dirt here soon,” said Kevin MacDonald, who owns the resort with his mother Jean.

If all goes according to plan, the additional campsites will be ready for the 2010 season.

The resort, which opened in 1985, has been steadily expanded in recent years. Three years ago, 91 full-service sites were added with help from a pipeline company that was looking for a seasonal camp for its workers. Another 37 unserviced camping spots were added last fall and are expected to be ready in June. Those sites will boost the resort’s total to just under 460 full, partial and unserviced sites.

MacDonald said despite the growth, he can’t keep up with demand from Albertans looking for a place to park their trailers and RVs for the summer.

“There’s no slowdown around here. We’re getting calls every day for seasonal sites.”

His waiting list for sites has topped 300. The proposed expansion will make a big dent but he still won’t be able to satisfy all of those looking for space.

Driving the huge demand for campsites is a growing trend towards seasonal camping. High gas prices may also be giving campers a nudge towards setting up more permanent summer homes, rather than touring around.

“I think a lot of people don’t want to pull their trailers around. They just want to jump in the car and come to the lake for the weekend.”

A constantly ringing phone convinced the MacDonalds to drop an earlier plan to subdivide up to 100 acres for a residential subdivision.

“Now that’s been scrapped. We decided we were probably better off building sites rather than just selling land.”

The County of Stettler recently approved second reading of the rezoning bylaw. The MacDonalds must now apply for a development permit, which will outline plans for storm water management, sewage disposal and other issues. It will then go to third and final reading.

This may not be the last addition to the resort. If it goes well, MacDonald said they may look at adding more sites in the next several years.

The 40-acre family resort, west of Rochon Sands on the south side of the lake, has playgrounds, restaurant, shops, arcade, mini-golf, petting zoo and a beach.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Ride to Conquer Cancer cancels but Red Deerian keeps going

Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer was cancelled due to smoke

Record-breaking year in Red Deer for smoke

Expect more smoke in Red Deer Wednesday

Mustard Seed prepares people for workforce

Employment Readiness Fair to be held August 28

Update: Bomb squad investigates, destroys suspicious package in Red Deer

North police station was closed as they investigated Tuesday afternoon

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending programs

OTTAWA — The minister in charge of Canada’s latest national plan to… Continue reading

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program from Aimia

TORONTO — A consortium led by Air Canada has reached a deal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month