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qathet Regional District denies request to camp in day-use park

qRD does not want overnight stays in Klah Ah Men Lund Gazebo Regional Park or other regional parks in the same category
CLEAR POLICY: Electoral Area A director and regional board chair Patrick Brabazon recommended that a request by an engaged couple to allow overnight camping at the Lund gazebo park for a June wedding be denied, as per regional board policy.

After a request by a couple getting married and wanting to camp in a day-use regional park, qathet Regional District’s (qRD) committee of the whole is recommending that camping not be allowed.

At the May 12 committee meeting, directors received a staff report that was generated by a request made at the April 14 committee of the whole meeting, requesting the regional board grant an exception to the bylaw, and to allow overnight camping at the Klah Ah Men Lund Gazebo Regional Park. According to the staff report, the couple has a special-use permit for the park in June for a wedding celebration, and a liquor licence for the event. The couple asked that wedding guests be able to camp at the park overnight after the celebration is complete.

Electoral Area A director Patrick Brabazon said the staff report on the matter and policy is quite clear.

“I want to receive this report and advise the applicants that the policy will not permit camping in that park,” said Brabazon.

Committee chair and Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick said the staff report had three options outlined. Brabazon said he is recommending the first option, which stated that the regional board recommends staff to not amend the parks regulatory bylaw. The option states that staff will continue with the current practice of issuing special event permits for events and that event participants are not entitled to stay overnight.

The report stated that approximately 50 special event permits are issued each year, the majority of which are at Palm Beach, Craig and Lund Gazebo regional parks, ranging from school beach days, small birthday parties, weddings and music festivals.

With the option Brabazon supported, there was a suggested motion that stated: that the committee recommend the board direct staff to continue with current practices associated with special event permits and overnight camping in regional parks, and that the board send correspondence to Rita Dubman and Ilya Samutin, the applicants, informing them that due to security issues and potential impacts on private properties, authority to camp at the gazebo park is denied.

Electoral Area E director Andrew Fall said his heart goes out to wanting to help people, but when getting into the details of what it implies, it’s challenging.

“Asking our manager of operational services to do more work to look into other options at this time, given our challenges, it doesn’t make sense,” said Fall. “I’m in favour of moving forward with the recommendation.”

The committee voted in favour of Brabazon’s motion.

The staff report indicated there are no regular staff members overseeing day-use parks. The two campgrounds at Haywire Bay and Shelter Point have caretakers who regularly patrol the campgrounds, addressing noise complaints and ensuring parties or gatherings are dispersed before they go too late.