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RV Park Opposition Gets Nasty in Newfoundland

September 8, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

The controversy that erupted this spring and summer over a 50-site expansion at Mountain View RV Park in Clarke’s Beach, Newfoundland, has again fiared up, and there’s every indication the feud will continue for some time to come.

A resident of Park Avenue used his vehicle to block a secondary exit from the park last week in order to stop the departure of a caravan of travel trailers from the United States, Carbonear’s The Compass reported.

Dan Morrissey parked his vehicle in front of a newly constructed exit after noticing several RVs leaving the park and making their way along the narrow, residential street. The park’s main entrance/exit is on nearby Brook Avenue.

“This is unacceptable. They’re doing what they want,” a frustrated Morrissey later told The Compass as he paced along the street with his wife Pat and another upset neighbour, Max Ollerhead, on Monday, Aug. 30.

The Morrisseys and others continue to accuse park owner Ernie Mugford of ignoring a council directive that he only use two exits on Park Avenue in the event of an emergency, and members of the town council also came in for more criticism, with some saying council is not protecting the interest of taxpayers.

“Pay attention to all the residents of Park Avenue. Not just Mr. Mugford,” said Pat Morrissey.

It’s yet another chapter in the ongoing feud between area residents who say the park, which is located within close proximity to a residential area, is interfering with their quality of life and devaluing their properties, and Mugford and his supporters, who say the park is an important contributor to the town’s economy.

Caught in the middle is Mayor Betty Moore and members of the town council, who have been trying to find a common ground between the two sides.

Nails on the ground

In recent months there have been emotional outbursts at public meetings, a stop-work order that was later withdrawn, threats of lawsuits, personal attacks and plenty of finger-pointing. A face-to-face meeting between town officials and those on both sides of the dispute last month appears to have solved nothing.

Mayor Moore said she even received a report recently that someone had dumped a quantity of nails on the ground near one of the park exits on Park Avenue.

“There seems to be a lot of personal issues that are attached to this,” said Moore. “That’s not helping either side.”

She said the dispute has been a major distraction, and “many other things are not being addressed.”

Last week’s blockade was the second time a resident of Park Avenue obstructed traffic from the park. Earlier this summer, Mildred Snow, who lives directly across from the park, used her vehicle to block heavy equipment from using the emergency exit as work on the expansion was ongoing.

Mugford has vociferously defended his actions in the past, whether it was at council meetings or in media interviews, but was not in the mood for talking last week.

When approached, Mugford told The Compass, “I have as much right to use a public road as you do.”

When asked if the exits on Park Avenue were for emergencies only, Mugford replied: “When I see an American tourist with a 45-foot bus with a short-turning radius, I say that’s an emergency.”

Mugford than got in his pickup truck and drove away.

Mayor Moore said it has been explained to Mugford on several occasions that the Park Avenue exits are for emergencies only.

“I think there could be more co-operation between Mr. Mugford and the council, and I think there could be more co-operation between the area residents also,” she said. “As a council, we are trying to look out for everybody in that area.”

Council meeting scheduled

The topic is expected to dominate the Sept. 19 meeting of the Clarke’s Beach town council, since it will be a “delegates” meeting, meaning those who wish to address council can do so.

Mugford is expected to request that he be permitted to use one of the two exists on Park Avenue as an entrance/exit, a move that’s likely to fuel the fires of discontent on the street.

Mayor Moore said she will not support such a request.

“I don’t want Park Avenue to be any type of thoroughfare for Mountain View Park,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Morrisseys and Ollerhead say the situation is so frustrating that they are reconsidering their long-term plans for the community.

“This man’s greed is just after taking over everything,” Ollerhead said.

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