GORE BAY – While all members of council agreed that something had to be done to curtail the overuse and abuse of the no-charge recreational vehicle parking (available at the parking lot near the town Harbour Centre) by closing it for the season, they also agree something needs to be looked at for the future to resolve the issue.
“I don’t disagree that we need tourists in town, but this year the (RV parking area) has been abused,” said Mayor Dan Osborne at a council meeting this past Monday. “And we have to think of our own taxpayers in town, who had been raising concerns. Something had to be done.”
“I agree something had to be done,” stated Councillor Ken Blodgett.
The issue was raised Monday as council considered a draft parking bylaw for the town, which in part includes that no tents are allowed anywhere in town and that anyone staying in the two free RV camping sites at the Harbour Centre parking lot would need to register at the town office for a permit, as well as providing their driver’s licence number as identification.
However, it was pointed out the final draft of the bylaw for council to consider was not available at Monday’s council meeting for their consideration.
“The two (RV) parking spots (adjacent to the Harbour Centre) were something that was decided a way back by council,” said Mayor Osborne.
Councillor Blodgett asked what happens, “if the town office is closed and there is an empty space at the parking site, could someone take it if it is not being used?”
“There are telephones, cell phones, email and text messages they could use (to inform and get in touch with town office staff),” said Mayor Osborne.
“I would think we would not want to turn anyone away,” said Councillor Blodgett. “When we go through this bylaw this winter, I think we have to make some changes to our current policies.”
Councillor Blodgett said, “when boaters come in they have to pay to dock here. Tourists spend money on gas, meals and shopping. We have to make up the lost revenue for (closing the RV parking site this year). We need as much revenue as we can in town. Maybe we could form a committee and take a serious look at this entire issue.”
“I don’t disagree that we need and welcome all tourists into town,” said Mayor Osborne, who said tourists provide an economic spinoff to the town. He pointed out the town does not own property that they could provide for a campground, and that this type of business would need to be established by a private landowner or entrepreneur.
Councillor Blodgett mentioned there are a couple of areas, one being near the marina, that could be used for RVs and that possibly a deal could be worked out with the town for use of the marina washrooms.
“Having an RV campground is for someone private to look at doing,” said Mayor Osborne. He noted other municipalities like Elliot Lake and Sudbury have campgrounds, but the town of Gore Bay doesn’t have the property that would provide for this.
“I agree it wouldn’t work for the town to run it,” agreed Councillor Blodgett. “Individuals who are interested would have to make a proposal to the town. We have to find an answer for all of this, we have lots of people come into town who, when they find out there is no camping available, turn around and go right back out of town, so they are not buying groceries, liquor and gas in town.”
“It has been a bad year,” added Mayor Osborne.