After severe flooding wrecked campgrounds and washed away the beach, Hay River Territorial Park opened this week thanks to local contractors and municipal staff who went “way above and beyond” in their clean-up efforts, said a government official.

“This is the result of a ton of work by local contractors in our staff,” said Drew Williams, Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment spokesperson, of the June 15 opening.

Workers have spent the last several weeks pumping water, hauling gravel and clearing a significant amount of ice and debris from the beach and campgrounds, he said.

They also cleared areas covered in silt during the flood, removed a damaged beach house and repaired 90 to 120 metres of boardwalk.

In addition, to replace a substantial amount of beach sand washed away by the flood, about 60 loads of sand are being transported in and spread around to restore the waterfront.

The work is expected to be finished next week, said Williams, “and beach users are being encouraged to swim and play with caution.”

A number of flood-damaged electrical panels needed to be replaced, which “was one of the one of the main reasons why we weren’t able to open the park on time,” Williams said. “We didn’t want to have any issues with unsafe electrical so new panels had to be installed and trenched.”

“I think we’re in good shape,” he added.

Many visitors are drawn each year to the park’s 43 individual campsites, which come with electricity and modern amenities, in addition to a 24-site group camping area and swimming on the shores of Great Slave Lake.

Regarding the booking of campsites for the summer, Williams said, “We’ll probably fill up quickly.”

“I’m going to say that folks are going to be making up for lost time now,” he said.

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