Resident hopes to derail new campsite proposal with community survey/petition

KAGAWONG—A local resident is circulating a petition/survey that she is hoping other residents in Billings will sign in opposition to a plan currently being considered by Billings township to change zoning ordinances to permit for a privately operated campground (for up to 10 seasonal campsites) and a permanent year round structure housing two separate glamping units on the property formerly known as the mini-putt.

“I have been circulating the petition and we have contacted the immediate property owners to the property being developed, as well as other residents in the township,” said Deborah Moore. “Everyone we have contacted, except for one person, has signed their name to the survey.”

“Essentially, I hope this does not all boil down to a popularity contest,” said Ms. Moore. “The proposed development has a chance to impact the upcoming municipal elections, as some people don’t feel the things being proposed in the community, and by council, will benefit the community.”

Ms. Moore explained, “on the survey form itself I have listed all the concerns I brought up at the recent council meeting where they (council) first heard the plans and were asked to consider the change to the zoning ordinances. We have been getting a lot of comments on the survey from people saying they do not think this is progressive, and that it should not take place.”

The survey/petition states, “members of Billings council, as a taxpayer in Kagawong I am (with space for their signature) not supportive of the plan currently being considered  by Billings Township to change zoning ordinances which would permit a privately operated campground (for up to 10 seasonal campsites and a permanent year round structure housing two separate ‘glamping’ units on the property formerly known as the mini-putt).”

Survey respondents are encouraged to check all concerns that may apply, with the list including: that the campground is too close to the centre of the community; campground too close to community residences; camping would deteriorate the heritage esthetics of the community; campfires raise serious fire concerns for the village; campfire smoke could cause serious health concerns to residents; camping would see an increase in the amount of noise pollution (particularly at night); camping would see an increase in foot traffic on local streets (particularly at night); the safety of campers in close proximity to the canal; the amount of municipal water required to operate a campground (particularly during summer months when gardening watering bans  are in effect); an increase in community water fees due to the increase of water usage at a campground; and zoning changes may encourage similar future ventures.” Respondents can also list other concerns they have.

The last question on the form is, “I would like to know how all Billings councillors voted with respect to this proposed zoning change.”

Sandra Hurcomb of Boo-Bah-Loo Candy Corner, on behalf of her business partner Susie Harrison, who owns the business Bare Naked Beauty, presented their proposal to council earlier this month. Ms. Harrison operates Bare Naked Beauty and has been creating the spa products for local residents and tourists on the property (which would now be located in the new development area).

Mr. Hurcomb is proposing to open the Sugar Bush Canadian Coffee House, what would basically be described as a coffee/art house, where art and cooking lessons would be held and where breakfast would be provided with various crepes, espresso and coffee.

Ms. Hurcomb explained the business partners have purchased property off Highway 540 at the corner (where Rock Island Mini-Golf had been located), where they would be putting in glamping and pop-up tent camping units. There would be a total of three glamping units on one side and six to eight (and a future maximum of 10) pop-up tent trailer camping sites.

The glamping unit, a two-story log house, would have separate accommodation facilities for those using them.

Council agreed at the earlier meeting it will need to take time to review the application and the concerns raised before making a final decision.              

“We are still collecting feedback and will likely do so for several more weeks,” said Ms. Moore.