Gore Bay councillor raises concerns with recreational vehicle parking lot proposal

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GORE BAY—While the majority of council is in favour of a recreational vehicle parking lot location being established on property adjacent to the Red Roof Pavilion and the former children’s playground in the Town of Gore Bay, a decision to go forward on this proposal did come with some opposition from one councillor.

“Why are we allowing mobile motor homes to park free on our waterfront, and boaters have to pay $80-90 dollars a night to dock at our marina?” stated Councillor Ken Blodgett at a discussion on this issue at a council meeting last week. “It is not fair for boaters to be paying and people in RVs who are visiting the town for a night, aren’t being charged anything. Who else gives that away for free?”

“We have spent millions of dollars over the years accommodating boaters, with new docks and hydro and washrooms,” said Mayor Dan Osborne. “What we are doing for people with RVs is like giving them a Walmart parking lot to park for a night. We are giving them a grassy area to park their RVs.”

“This issue has been raised by boaters before,” countered Councillor Blodgett.

“They (RV owners) won’t not be getting any amenities at all,” countered Councillor Paulie Nodecker.

At a town general government committee meeting in April, town staff had asked if the RV lot previously located adjacent to the Harbour Centre is still to be closed or reopened, now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. Consideration for an appropriate location was discussed. The committee advised those with RVs should be registering at the town office no later than 4:30 pm Fridays prior to booking weekends. As well, it was agreed that only self-contained (RV units) would be allowed.

“Prior to March 2020, we had no problems with people parking RVs (in a location adjacent to the Harbour Centre in town). “But when COVID-19 arrived, we had lots of problems,” said Mayor Osborne.

“If this doesn’t work out, we will cease having it,” said Councillor Kevin Woestenenk. “I’m sure there is going to be some pushback with those that want the RV lot and those that don’t. But the committee felt that we should at least try it.” He pointed out that at this point, the town doesn’t have permission to have the RV parking lot located on the southeast corner of the Purvis parking lot adjacent to the Red Roof Pavilion. A total of five RVlots is being proposed

A motion was put forward by councillors Kevin Woestenenk and Paulie Nodecker, which was passed by council, with a dissenting vote from Councillor Blodgett that the RV lot location be changed to the southeast corner of the Purvis parking lot adjacent to the Red Roof Pavilion, on a trial basis for the 2022 season.

After the council meeting, Councillor Blodgett continued to voice his concerns with the proposal. “I realize RVs will receive no services like hydro or water, nothing except garbage containers at the site.”

“People are already writing letters about having to pay hundreds of dollars for parking RVs for a season in Burpee-Mills Township. We’re going to rent property, to allow RVs on it for free? How are we going to recover that money if we are giving away the RV lots for nothing?”

“I want people with RVs to come to Gore Bay, but why not charge them at least a minimal amount?” questioned Councillor Blodgett. “We aren’t doing this for our taxpayers, we are giving away these parking lots to strangers. We should be charging them for this.”