County parks looking for new hostel operators

Published on Thu, Jan 30, 2003 by Meg Olson

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County parks looking for new hostel operators

By Meg Olson

Whatcom County parks is looking for new operators for the Birch Bay hostel and hoping they can attract more people to use the facility.

�We�re not asking for anything earth shattering, just a little more active management,� said county parks operations manager Lynne Givler. �We want to see what kind of creative ideas are out there.�

When the hostel closed for the season in October, Hosteling International (HI), which had operated a hostel at Bay Horizon Park on Alderson Road since 1982, decided to call it quits. While hostel manager Wayne Maschger reported growing use of the hostel and estimated 800 people had visited last year. Givler said HI management was reporting sluggish use of the facility and a much lower number of overnight stays. The parks board is hoping some new blood will bring renewed enthusiasm and the hostel will open with a bang this summer.

In a request for proposals issued last week the parks department asked individuals and organizations interested in running the hostel to submit a proposed operations and management plan. They are specifically interested in finding an experienced operator who will run a self-sufficient hostel.

�We�re concerned that it not cost us money, that they are serving the community and that they work well with the Lions Club,� Givler said. The hostel shares Bay Horizon Park with the Lions Camp Horizon.

Applicants will also have to submit a detailed financial plan of how they will cover all costs of running the 14-bedroom hostel. Like HI any new hostel operator will not be charged rent but will need to pay a leasehold tax of $50 per month, utilities, maintenance and operating costs, including salaries. Givler said they anticipated the new operator would, like HI, close the hostel during winter.

A pre-proposal meeting is scheduled for January 30 and all proposals are due by February 4. For more information call 676-6733.

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