British Columbia City Mulls Campground
It has occurred to the city council in Port Alberni, British Columbia, that the community doesn’t operate a campground and there really should be an opportunity created for visitors who would like to park their recreational vehicles and shop there.
But on Tuesday (Oct. 14) some council members spoke against establishing a city-run camping facility in this city of 20,000 located 150 miles northwest of Seattle, according to the Port Alberni Westcoaster.
”It’s a small business,” said Hira Chopra. “If the city wants to help those people who come to town when they want to park their thing, then the city should put it out to tender.”
In response to a resident’s request, the council has asked staff to look at the possibility of establishing a campground at Weaver Park.
But the site is too small. It’s located in a residential area, and boasts a softball field and trees that would have to be destroyed to create a camping ground.
“It would not be well-received by area residents and would not be supported by the parks and recreation department,” wrote Scott Kenny, director of parks and recreation, in his report to the council.
Council members were in favor of taking another look at Dry Creek Park. The city had a campground there, which was operated, beginning in the mid-1990s by the private sector. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make a go of it.
Staff was asked this week to take a look at it again and explore the possibility of re-establishing a campground.
Once the staff report comes back, the council can talk about whether it wants to invite tenders for a campground operator.
They will also think about any other potential sites.
According to the report already prepared by staff when they looked at Weaver Park, it may not be a lucrative business venture.
“Our previous experience in operating Dry Creek Campground, which included several years under management by the private sector, proved small scale campgrounds were money-losing ventures,” Kenny wrote.
Westcoaster.ca posted a story in July about the extreme shortage of camping places that plagues the area every summer weekend. Potential visitors are routinely turned away.
Meanwhile, with increased numbers of homeless people in town, Dry Creek Park, and Roger Creek Park as well, appear to have become unofficial camping areas. People using tents and sleeping bags are often seen staying the night.