The overnight camping policy for the Town of Eckville has been amended to include a nightly fee.
At the regular meeting of council on Feb. 24 the amendment of Dry Camping/Overnight Parking was passed with two votes against.
The big change in the policy is overnight dry campers with recreational vehicles on municipal land will now be faced with a $10 per night fee.
Dry camping is defined in the policy as “the parking of a Recreational Vehicle in an area not designated as a campground and where services, such as power, water and sewer, are not available.”
The term “dry camping” does not refer to being restricted from consuming alcoholic beverages.
Recreational vehicles can include a motorhome, holiday trailer or tent trailer.
Organizations who are hosting functions and are looking to utilize the overnight camping must submit a request to the Town and are then responsible for collecting payment from each camper themselves.
Typically there are three main dry camping events in Eckville each year: the Dance Jamboree, the Gospel Jamboree and the rodeo.
Jack Ramsden, chief administrative officer, says the policy applies to more than just the parking lot surrounding the arena and the community centre.
As per the policy, “municipal lands” includes land owned and controlled by the Town designated for public use, such as a park, playground, recreational areas and ball diamonds.
In this particular policy the Eckville Lions Campground is not included as municipal land, but the policy does encourage campers to use any of the campground’s available sites before dry camping on municipal land.
The Eckville Lions Campground has 14 sites, each with a 15 amp electrical service and water service. Two of the sites also have sewer service and the campground provides washroom and shower facilities.
Ramsden added anyone overnight parking somewhere else can be ticketed as recreational vehicles can only be parked in front of your own home.
The number of overnight campers at the event or length of stay will have no impact on the $10 per night charge.
After collected, the money will go back to the Town, where council will decide if/where it should be reallocated.
“You can justify the $10 because, quite often, there is some kind of clean up and stuff that our staff have to do, so to me I think the $10 if very reasonable,” said Councillor Karin Engen during the discussion Monday night.
Mayor Helen Posti was one of the opposing votes on the amendment, stating the fee could “kill the rodeo.” She says she has never seen overnight dry campers charged at any other rodeos.
Last year some dry campers started arriving a week before events and Ramsden said in discussion he is interested to see how the nightly fee is going to impact the different events.
The next regular meeting of council is on March 9.