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Letter: Campground owners affected by red tape

By: Letter to the Editor

 | Aug 07, 2014 - 2:08 PM |
I don’t think most campground owners know there’s a new bylaw in place requiring all licenced campground owners in the City of Greater Sudbury to conform to a schedule “B.”

(OK, maybe its not “new,” but its the first I’ve heard of it and I’ve been operating a licenced campground since 1991). If you do not conform, they can revoke your operating licence.

There are many requirements, but I’ll only point out a few eye openers. For example, the main access road must be a hard surface (gravel is not a hard surface).

You do not have too many choices for a hard surface. The least expensive would be pavement. If you do not have a paved main access road, then you do not comply.

There cannot be any obstructions between trailer sites — any. So unless you’re camping in a farm field or a Walmart parking lot, those trees must be removed. If you want a campground where you value camping in a well-treed lot, you do not comply.

The campground must be well-drained and graded so as to get rid of stagnant water. So if you have any natural ponds on your property, you do not comply. Technically a lake is stagnant water.

Apparently if you do not comply, you can request a hearing with the committee of adjustments. I’m told it’s probably a two-week process, depending on schedule requirements for all the committee members.

Summer holidays are a definite factor for this hearing. If you’ve ever required a meeting or signature with a city staff member, you know what I mean.

I believe the people responsible for this “schedule B” have not consulted campground owners and campers directly affected.

Legal campgrounds pay licenses, are responsible for safe drinking water, safe waste and sewage, fire safety, garbage management, charge HST on each lot and enforce basic common sense rules to maximize enjoyment for all their campers.

Unlicensed campground owners don’t have anything to worry about. They can just keep doing what they are doing. Apparently it’s more important to hammer the legal ones with ill-thought-out nonsense.

What kind of camping do you want in your city? As a campground owner, I want to provide a campground I would camp at — as close to nature as possible, with minimum impact to the environment.

Do you want to camp on a paved street with street lights every 300 feet? Yes, street lights. You can’t see the stars at night when you have street lights.
It’s time to rethink this “schedule B.” Let’s replace it with something that campers actually want. There has to be a better way.

Barry Miles

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