Town closes free RV overnight parking due to overcrowding and abuse of site

The Town of Gore Bay has closed the free overnight RV parking in the area by the Harbour Centre in Town due to overcrowding (there is a two RV per night limit) and abuse of the site this summer.

GORE BAY – With overcrowding of recreational vehicles (RVs) near Gore Bay’s Harbour Centre (more than the allowable limit of two RVs per night), tents and vehicles being parked that people are using to sleep in, garbage left behind, urinating on the shoreline and reports of people defecating in a location near the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club fish hatchery, the Town of Gore Bay has taken stern action.

A notice on the Town of Gore Bay Facebook page this past Tuesday reads, “please be advised that RV overnight parking in the Town of Gore Bay is closed until further notice.”

“People have been abusing the use of the parking we have provided,” stated Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne. “Basically people are taking advantage of and disrespecting the town and its residents.” 

He said that along with the above concerns, this weekend some campers set up barbecues on the decks of the Harbour Centre and illegally broke into and used the outside hydro power outlets at the centre. 

“After hearing all that the decision was made to close everything,” said Mayor Osborne. “The free camping of two RVs per night for free was done a couple of years ago, and people had been respectful, but not this year. It was done with good intentions but it has been abused. And free RV camping does not mean camping out of a tent or a hatchback.”

“There is now signage in place indicating the site is closed, and barricades going up so that there is no more camping, at all, allowed. The overnight parking is closed as of now for the rest of the year,” said Mayor Osborne. 

This issue was discussed at a town public works meeting and also at a town general government meeting last week. One of the recommendations that came out was that the practice of parking at the Harbour Centre should not be free, and those who are using the two RV sites would have to register at the town office before and after using the space. 

“Unless we do something it won’t get better,” said Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne at the public works and properties meeting.

Town public works foreman Roger Chenard reported at the meeting that there are issues with trailers and campers at the site. “People are staying longer than two nights, and leaving an insurmountable amount of garbage. And we’ve seen some people in tents or sleeping in their cars, and there have been people urinating by the trees near the water. And they use the deck at the Harbour Centre for barbecues.”

“This year has been worse than normal,” said Mayor Osborne. 

“There were 12 different RVs and other vehicles parked there a couple of weekends ago,” said Mr. Chenard. He noted the issue with parking is so bad, it took staff two-and-a-half hours to clean up the garbage one day. 

Mr. Chenard suggested that instead of offering this space for free, that a fee should be charged and a permit be provided at the town office to use one of the two camping sites. 

“I am not opposed to a user fee,” said Mayor Osborne. “We could say that visitors need to register for the permit, say $35 a night.” 

And it was suggested RV users of the site could also have to provide their name, licence plate number and phone number.

“We could refine the process and allow for two day passes, that they return to the town office when they are leaving,” suggested Councillor Paulie Nodecker.  

Mayor Osborne said the entire issue and recommendations that have been made by the committees will be raised at council’s next meeting for discussion, as well as looking at options the town can consider.