By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Jan. 28, 2012.
In 2010, Squamish council amended a bylaw to ensure the maximum stay at a RV Park and Campground wouldn’t exceed 30 days.
Even though it was to apply to only new RV Parks and Campgrounds, it met opposition from RV Park owners. They said it would hurt business, but the bylaw was still amended.
In what could only be called a change of heart, if not a reversal of policy, the council is now poised to allow campground users a stay of three and six months at the Eagle Vista Campground.
Council gave first and second reading to a rezoning application from Eagle Vista RV Park owners to allow campground users three and six months stay in the campground, although such length of stays are not even allowed on district campgrounds.
The application is now headed to a public hearing on Feb. 14.
As many as 20 stalls at Eagle Vista will be available for a six-month stay, another 20 for three-month stay, and the rest for a regular 30-day period.
Eagle Vista Campground is located on Centennial Way, just behind the Squamish Forestry Building on Loggers Lane, and has been operating on a Temporary Use Permit since 2005.
The rezoning, from ‘Limited Use’ to ‘Greenways, Corridor and Recreation’, will also allow the owner to build a 3,000 square foot home, along with a 2,500 square foot restaurant on the campground site.
Research has shown that Squamish is short on campground spaces, the district planner Sabina Foofat told the councillors at a regular council meeting on Jan. 17.
The extension of stay is also consistent with the 2005 Accommodation Strategy report, she said.
The 2005 report had found “a high level of demand for this type of accommodation, particularly during the summer season.”
“Camping is a popular summer activity in Squamish, and campgrounds like Alice Lake and the Squamish Chief are often at capacity,” Foofat said.
Rezoning the Eagle Vista property will provide a formal and serviced camping in Squamish, she added.
Tuesday’s council decision was welcomed by Janice Kirkman, the owner of the Eagle Vista Campground, although she said would be more willing to comment after third reading.
Owner Jeff Kirkman was one among those who had spoken against the 30-day limit, saying it wasn’t financially viable.
He suggested staff investigate other options, which they seem to have done.
As his proposal inches towards public hearing on Feb.14, financial viability of his campground would be the least of his worries.