$1,000 Rate Hike Angers Seasonal Campers

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February 23, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Group camping site at Sunnyside Park near Chilliwack, British Columbia.

Cultus Lake Park Board commissioners near Chilliwack, British Columbia, will likely face a throng of seasonal campers from Sunnyside Campground upset about recently announced rate increases seen as "unreasonable" at a meeting on Wednesday (Feb. 24), according to the Chilliwack Times.

Barbara Connop, a Sardis resident who for 28 years has set up camp from May to October at Sunnyside, feels the decision to raise seasonal rates by as much as $1,000 a year is unfair and disrespects campers as community members.

"We go to restaurants, the golf course, the waterslides, we put a ton of money into Cultus Lake just for the five months that we are there," she said yesterday. "It would be a sad state of affairs if we weren't there."

At the board's Feb. 10 meeting, commissioners approved a 2010 budget that will see increases to seasonal campers, parking rates as well as commercial and residential leaseholders.

Connop is one of more than 125 people who have joined a Facebook group for seasonal Sunnyside campers, a group with the tagline: "Seasonal site holders unite against ridiculous 2010 fee increases."

One of the group's administrators, Teresa Penner Lesberg, has come up with some alternative ways for the board to raise more money that she sees as "more fair and just."

Other posters on the discussion board have gone so far as to ask what the board would do if campers just refused to pay the increases.

Park board commissioner Sacha Peter, who put forward the adopted motions to increase seasonal camping rates as well as residential and leaseholder rates, has said the rate increases put them "more in line with market reality."

"Our seasonal camping rates are significantly lower than competing campgrounds (even those with lesser amenities) and judging by the waitlists we have seen, there is lots of demand for seasonal camping spots," he wrote on his blog.

But Connop and others disagree.

"One of the questions we have is 'where do you get this figure from?'" she asks.

"We don't want to have a screaming match," she said. "We just want to ask some questions and get some answers."

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