Tough Road to Privatize One Government Campground
It’s a real challenge to privatize just one former government campground in British Columbia. Just ask Bernard Chingee.
The former forestry recreational camp on Summit Lake near Prince George, British Columbia, will be allowed to be reopened as a commercial operation for three years. The application to the Regional District of Fraser Fort George calls for the site to be used for day use, overnight camping, the reopening of a boat launch and the inclusion of a concession stand, Opinion 250 News Inc. reported.
The property would use the existing layout and infrastructure on the property to operate the campground and no new infrastructure will be developed. The site would be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. each night and would be gated and closed over night.
At the public consultation session held earlier this month, there was some support for the application but there were also concerns raised and questions asked to clarify how the campground will operate.
To address some of the concerns raised and clarify how the campground will operate, changes have been incorporated into the Temporary Commercial Use Permit.
These items include:
- When the site is in operation, a campground representative is required on site at all times and must be identifiable to the public.
- A maximum of 22 – double occupancy overnight campsites are permitted.
- The operator is required to notify campground users to reduce noise by 10 p.m.
- Sewage from the existing pit privies will be removed and disposed of by a qualified professional.
- A sign detailing information regarding Boating Noise Control Bylaw No. 846 is required to be posted at the entrance of the property.
Although the application is for a three-year temporary use permit, the members of the public said they would prefer a one-year permit so it would be a trial period to ensure the use is compatible with neighbouring properties.
Justin Chingee has been working with the applicant, Bernard Chingee, on this application. He says the three-year permit is necessary as this kind of business is dependent on the weather, and one year may not be enough to establish the business.
A resident stepped up and called for a site inspection, as “It has been nice for the past couple of years because it has been quiet, as a resident I would hope it would stay that way.”
He was also concerned about the term that the sites would be double occupancy. While the intent is for each site to handle one RV unit and a tent, he says it is likely the sites would see two RVs, “suddenly the 22 campsites are now housing 44 (RVs) and we are back to all the noise.”
Director Terry Burgess says forestry is getting out of the small campground business, “This site was run by the government before and it was a total zoo, especially at grad time.” He also raised questions about the ability of the applicant to control boat noise. Burgess says if a temporary use permit is put in place, the regional district will have some control over what happens on the property.
“ I ask the board to approve a temporary permit for three years as one year is not long enough for a financial investment,” he added.
The motion was approved unanimously.