Campground use returned to zoning bylaw after owner outcry

North Cowichan makes campground use legal again on agricultural land, staff reviewing stay lengths and types of RVs allowed

John and Jeri Wyatt say they need to have a percentage of long-term stays to make their Chemainus campground viable.

John and Jeri Wyatt say they need to have a percentage of long-term stays to make their Chemainus campground viable.

John and Jeri Wyatt are law-abiding folks.

So the Chemainus River Campground owners were shocked to learn, through their realtor, their 23-acre spread was illegally allowing camping; North Cowichan council had scratched campground use from its A-2 zone.

“There was no notice, so we just carried on as normal,” Jeri said.

That campground cancellation also hit Country Maples, and Bald Eagle campgrounds, plus Chemainus Gardens Holiday Resort.

The four owners fought the zoning change started under North Cowichan’s previous council.

Their voices were heard Wednesday when council gave third reading to an amendment returning campground use to A-2 (agricultural) zones, Mayor John Lefebure explained.

Likely by year’s end, staff will also hand council recommendations defining short-term and seasonal camping stays, and types of visitors — such as park model RVs — allowed in A-2 campgrounds.

The Wyatts simply want a return to all camping uses — from tents to RVs — allowed before council began fine tuning its campground zoning in 2010.

Even with Wednesday’s return to campground status, Chemainus River, Bald Eagle and Country Maples were still restricted to 28-day stays.

“We can’t survive on a 28-day limit,” an angry Jeri said. “Who’s gonna monitor that? People will (stay) illegally; this is so stupid.”

John agreed. “North Cowichan wants campgrounds for the travelling public, but we need a certain amount of permanent or long-term visitors.”

The Wyatts accept any site upgrades need municipal permits.

In July 2012, Chemainus Gardens was allowed to keep its various park-model RVs, and campground status. That’s because its property sits outside the agricultural land reserve, Mayor John Lefebure explained.

It’s also hooked to municipal water and sewer services.

Park-model RVs — with about 400 square feet of year-round living space — probably prodded the past council to address weak campground-use definitions, and what staff saw as “a proliferation of permanent structures, and a movement away from being proper campsites,” the mayor said.

While Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley viewed park-models as an affordable housing option for seniors and others, Lefebure cautioned “the agricultural land reserve doesn’t allow residential neighbourhoods.”

“A campsite is not a residential neighbourhood.”

But council’s zoning tweaking tossed a wrench into the Wyatts’ plans to sell their property — it devalued their campground, by an unknown amount, from their current asking price of about $1.6 million.

Their decision to sell was prodded by John contracting cancer, and Jeri’s wish to enjoy her golden years after retiring from school-board janitorial duty.

Their plans have been rocked, aside from spending some $1,000 so far on lawyers, they explained.

They suggested council’s campground zoning allow all types of camping, but dictated by a percentage of each property’s size.

Lefebure seemed open to ideas.

“We definitely don’t want to restrict legitimate campground businesses.

“Council wants to be as helpful as possible to see these businesses survive, without them moving from campsites to residential developments,” he said, noting staff will likely mull park-model for short-term stays.

Just Posted

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

A conceptual rendering of the commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith/June 15 Council Agenda)
Rocky Creek commercial plaza passes public hearing

The proposed plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road would bring commercial activity to Ladysmith’s north end

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Vancouver Island First Nations flags to fly permanently at city hall

Addition of flags are one Port Alberni response to reconciliation

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

Most Read