Business at the new Riverside Campground is less than expected, and campground representatives say the municipality’s tolerance of overnight campers in day-skier Lot 4 is to blame.
David Zelmer, president of International Lands and a partner in the Riverside Campground, and manager Eric Wight appeared before council Monday to make their case for enforcement of the bylaw prohibiting overnight parking in Lot 4. Wight said Riverside has lost more than 260 "unit nights" since mid-January and customers are now cancelling reservations and moving out to Lot 4 once they discover the bylaw is not enforced.
When the Riverside Campground opened in mid-December, municipal staff did an inventory of which RVs, campers and vans were staying in Lot 4 and announced those 40 campers would be allowed to stay until April 30 of this year. Any campers who arrived after the inventory was done were to be fined and possibly towed. But the bylaw hasn’t been strictly enforced and the fine is only $10.
Wight, who has been tracking campers in the day-skier lot by licence plate numbers, said most are staying only one night "which makes the one-night grace period meaningless."
Zelmer said Friday and Saturday nights are the main nights for campers in the day-skier lots.
Riverside Campground currently has 54 serviced RV sites, which it rents for $35 per night. The campground also has 60 unserviced sites, which it rents for $20 per night. Riverside has set aside 20 serviced sites for long-term campers that are available at a rate of $500 per month. There are currently 12 long-term campers staying at Riverside.
The $10 fine for parking in the day-skier lots still makes it cheaper than staying at Riverside, although some offenders have recently been towed. Council asked staff Monday to look at increasing the fine to $75, a move which Councillor Ken Melamed opposed, calling it a "knee-jerk" reaction.
"I’m curious as to when the day will come and demand (for camping sites) exceeds what the Riverside Campground can supply. Will council then have to relax the Lot 4 bylaw again?" Melamed asked.