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Campground Shrinkage Would Hurt Tourism

January 25, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

A plan to allow a townhouse development at the site of a campground in Summerland, British Columbia, met with opposition from residents of neighboring properties.

The bylaw, under consideration by the council on Monday evening (Jan. 23), called for amendments to the Official Community Plan (OCP) and zoning bylaw to allow a 20-unit townhouse development at the campground, the Summerland Review reported.

Joseph Dubois, owner of the property, Summerland Campground & RV Park, said the campground will close at the end of this season, no matter what decision the council reaches.

“We can’t service the demand,” he said. “I have no room to expand and my costs keep going up.”

Dubois said there is a growing demand for campgrounds which can provide cable, wireless Internet and expanded electrical services to accommodate vacationers with large recreational vehicles. The vehicles are too large for the spaces on the property.

Campground Backers Oppose Closing

“I’m opposed to any rezoning of the campground at this point in time,” said Pam Johnson. “It’s actually the perfect sport for a campground.”

She said the demand for camping facilities remains strong in the Okanagan.

Paul Barber agreed that the campground is needed.

“Tourism is supposed to be a key part of our community,” he said. “If we don’t have overnight access, we’re going to hurt our tourism businesses very hard.”

Tony Cottrell said the change will change the character of Trout Creek, which has traditionally been a low density residential area.

“Our OCP is meant to be something you can rely on for a reasonable period of time,” he added.

Brad Smith was concerned about the environmental impact of the changes since the property borders Trout Creek, a spawning area for salmon.

Government Reaction

Councillor Lloyd Christopherson said he was surprised the rezoning had become a major issue.

He said in September, the concerns from the neighbors were about the density of the proposed plan, not about the zoning change.

Councillor Martin Van Alphen said he supports the development as presented.

“I believe it’s a good development personally,” he said.

Councillor Peter Waterman had reservations about the change.

“I’m concerned this is a significant OCP change,” he said.

Mayor Janice Perrino said the proposal makes the best use of the land.

She added that the changes to the community plan are to be expected.

“The OCP is not a static document; it’s a living document,” she said. “It’s changing with the flow of the times.”

The second and third readings of the bylaw to amend the zoning and Official Community Plan passed with Waterman opposed. Coun. Bruce Hallquist was not present at the council meeting.

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