Not In My Backyard

An Alberta developer wants to build a large RV park in Big Pond, Cape Breton. After a lengthy proposal process, the development was approved however an appeal was launched by seven people and there is a three-day hearing taking place this week to determine if the development will still go forward.

There is no website for Ceilidh on the Lakes. They do have a Facebook page. And they made this post in May:

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Due to the OVERWHELMING number of inquiries and requests for seasonal sites, we will be releasing the seasonal applications this week!

A few things to note:

– Deposits will be held in trust until opening, with deposit amount deducted from first season’s rate

– If for any reason the development does not proceed, deposits will be returned within a specified time frame

– 170 seasonal sites will be available

– Choose from lot sizes 30 X 45 or 30 X 60

Stay tuned to the page for details and application in the coming days!

No word on pricing or timing. This development might take a year or two before it is open for business which makes it a bit dodgy to request a deposit at this stage.

The population near this proposed RV park is very small, literally a couple of hundred people.

They have raised a lot of concerns. A pretty disgruntled lot if I might be so bold. Here are a few of the comments from the 50 or so people that are participating in the appeal:

“The appellants say that the CBRM planners and the CBRM council did not adequately evaluate the zoning amendment proposal with respect to several provisions of the MPS, including visual compatibility, dust or fumes, traffic and noise. The appellants also say the project runs counter to agricultural land protection.”

“If you have fire pits near a barn full of hay, it wouldn’t take too long to burn a barn down.”

“I enjoy the privacy I have now, and I don’t think I’d enjoy having people watching me all day — I enjoy looking at the trees but I don’t know how many trees will be left after this.”

“I am concerned about pollution coming to our vegetables. I am not an expert, but during the time of the public hearing I submitted some research that I had done that indicated both air pollution, especially particulate matter in the air, can affect the growth of vegetables, which is of great concern to me because our main income generators in the garden are leafy greens such as salad mix, lettuce, Asian greens, spinach and kale.”

“It will change the landscape of our community.”

Obviously I love the RV lifestyle and especially the RV parks that cater to Class A motorhomes — not that we have any of those in Canada but there are more than enough in the United States.

Evidently, this love of RVing is not shared by the community of Big Pond.

WSU RV Passes Sell Out

One of the big differences between the U.S. and Canada?

We don’t have RV parking for college football.

On the Die Hard Cougs Facebook page, Washington State University Cougar fans were enraged when the parking passes for RVs had sold out.

From the Daily Evergreen:

The CAF [Cougar Athletic Fund] switched to selling RV passes for a full season after having them available on a per game basis in previous years.

Ganders said the decision was about rewarding their largest donors for committing to WSU with the ease of purchasing a pass for a whole season.

“We know that RV parking is part of Washington State football culture,” Ganders said. “Unfortunately that’s the inventory we have and we just try to make it as fair and as objective as possible.”

Ganders said they have seen an increase in donations from people looking to increase their chances of getting RV passes. CAF scores for RV pass priority went into effect May 1, a date Ganders said was made clear well in advance.

The CAF separates their zoned RV parking into three donor levels. Zone 1 costs $875 and requires an additional annual donation of $1000. Zone 2 costs $700 and requires an additional annual donation of $750 and Zone 3 costs $700 and requires an additional annual donation of $700.

WSU has a capacity for 330 RVs and campers on home football weekends.

Washington State University even has a webpage dedicated to RV event parking.

The only American football game that I have ever watched live was at the Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the Detroit Lions.

The Silverdome closed in 2006 and the city sold it for about a half million, less than one percent of the cost to build it. It reopened for a few years in 2010 and then it was closed again in 2013. Demolition occurred in 2017. ViralForest has some haunting photos of the Silverdome here.

That football game was the very first time that I had experienced a tailgate party. And yes, there were a lot of RVs and campers strewn about the parking lot. The place was packed.

Not sure that I would take our coach out to a football game.

30 Days

Not until retirement. Although getting much closer now. Only 51 more days.

No. This 30 days refers to a bylaw that the Whistler RV Park will begin enforcing. Any long-term or seasonal stay will require a move to a new site every 30 days. Failure to comply will lead to expulsion from the park.

Can you imagine how crazy it would be on the 30th day of every month (to have) 40-plus people packing up their RVs and all switching sites?

This article provides all of the frightful details of people having to lift their jacks and play musical RVs to satisfy a desire by park management to enforce a bylaw that they have never enforced before.

Park management had initially claimed that the Resort Municipality of Whistler would charge the park a fine if trailers were not relocated every month although that story has changed. The current reason? Compliance with the bylaw.

Some motorcoach resorts limit stays to only 30 days. And it is clear on their website.

Not that I have any plans to stay at the Whistler RV Park but I could not find any reference to a 30-day maximum policy on site rentals on their website.

Just another customer focused Canadian RV park operator.

Fair Taxation For Canadian Campgrounds

Fair taxation? That is a loaded question for Canadians. With a top marginal rate in Ontario of 53.5 percent, I might argue that Canadians generally experience excessive taxation.

The issue of fair taxation is of concern to the RV industry in this country. Representatives from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada (RVDA) host an annual awareness day with the federal government in Ottawa. This year, it was held on Thursday, April 26th.

The RVDA issued a news release captioned with this headline: Without action, campgrounds face 300% increase in taxes.

The industry has quite an impact on the Canadian economy estimated at $14.5 billion annually and growing. Canada has over 4,200 campgrounds.

From the news release:

But the continued growth success of the RV and camping industry is not assured. The promotion of the RV sector and proper infrastructure in our existing parks are crucial to the growth of the RVing and camping industries, as well as a prosperous Canadian tourism sector. The RVing industry contributes billions to the national economy, but campgrounds across Canada require infrastructural improvements in order to accommodate new camping and RV technologies.

That is an understatement. We have found it very difficult to find parks and sites that will accommodate our 40-foot rig. The picture above shows our coach at Milton Heights Campground. One of the better campgrounds in the Greater Toronto Area but a far cry from the best RV parks in the U.S.

I am starting to see signs of Canadian campgrounds making investments specifically to support larger Class A Motorhomes. Like Salish Seaside RV Haven in Victoria, British Columbia:

The park has been completely redesigned to be truly “Big Rig Friendly”. It comprises 36 pads of which all but a very few will accommodate the largest Class A Motorhomes. Most sites are waterfront with spectacular views around Victoria’s harbour.

We won’t see very many parks making these improvements with excessive taxation from the government:

“Our industry needs to be sure that we will be governed by a fair tax regime, including being eligible for the small business tax deduction,” said Robert Trask, Chairman of the CCRVC. “Without clarification from the government, our members face retroactive tax increases of as much as 300%. Having campgrounds pay a higher tax rate than billion-dollar corporations is dumbfounding.”

You can read the full release here.

The Way South

We have now made a few bookings for our trip south. We will be leaving from Sherkston Shores RV Resort — identified as point 2 on the map above. Point 1 is where we are living right now.

The plan is for Lorraine and I to take the coach over to our dealer mid-August. We have a bit of a punch list:

  • Side radiator lower grill guard almost disconnected from body of coach
  • Oasis hot water heater pump failure — this one is a known defect by the manufacturer
  • Full wall slideout uneven — literally rises up a quarter inch or so after slides are deployed — this was not resolved during warranty by the dealer and is still outstanding
  • Full length of Girard Awning Casing on top of passenger side of coach overhangs coach body by about an inch
  • Levelling jack leaking hydraulic fluid (passenger side front)
  • Small puncture in roof membrane requires repair
  • 483 RSB – Recall 17V 420: Driver Passenger Shade
  • 486 TSB – MCD Remote Shade Motor Replacement
  • 488 RSB – Recall 17V 497: Battery Cable May Rub Against Frame (potential fire hazard)
  • 493 PIB – Freightliner Lightbar: instrument panel odometer value may reset and not match the engine ECU odometer value

We also need to get our towing system in place for our new toad. For the towbar we are installing a Blue Ox baseplate, a Blue Ox KarGard, a Blue Ox Towbar, and a Patriot Braking System.

The dealer wants the coach for about a month. We will pick it up from the dealer mid-September and head over to Sherkston Shores and hang out there until the end of October.

We then make three stops over five days on our way down south. Point 3 on the map above will be at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park. Looks like a nice place. The first drive will be 6 hours on the road not including breaks.

Point 4 on the map is our next stop. We will spend two days at the Mountain Falls Luxury Motorcoach Resort. I suspect that this will be a stunning place to rest up after a second long day of driving. Roughly 7 hours between Stonewall Jackson and Mountain Falls without including any breaks.

After a two-night layover, we will head over to point 5 on the map above: Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort. Another 6-hour drive without including any breaks.

From there, we take a longer drive over to Myakka River Motorcoach Resort. A little over 8 hours on the road without including any breaks.

And then? A whole month in the sun and warmth.

Why take the drive down so quickly? Well, we want to enjoy as much of our time as possible in the south. 4 relatively long days behind the wheel will be worthwhile once we pull into our site in Florida.