May 17, 2004

Overnight RVing at WM

Nationwide, a common practice is to park one's RV overnight in the parking lots of WM. It's safe--with the floodlights always on, and its free (since many RVers are exceptional good customers).

This has caught the ire of campground owners, one of which wants to use local zoning laws to eliminate the competition.

Ian Robertson, a planning consultant with Inukshuk Planning and development, helped draft the city's zoning bylaws in 1997.

"Right now the law says you can't camp on private property," he says.

Robertson says the zoning bylaws are clearly written and easy to understand.

I don't think that RVing=camping under the city code, but one must applaud the ingenuity of Mr. Robertson in claiming that zoning codes are "clear", which is almost never the case.

The park owners are threatening to sue the local governnent unless overnight parking is prevented. However, the local government says it has no authority to regulate overnight parking on private property:

Park owners say it's time for city council to move on the issue.

"We've got another big new store coming and you know it is going to be pretty hard for them to put up signs saying "No overnight Parking" when their direct competition allows it," says Morris Kostiuk, owner of the Pioneer RV park in Whitehorse.

"So the pressure will be on them to allow it and pretty soon we're going to have them parked all over everybody's property just so they can get their business and that's the issue. It is strictly a city issue."

Kostiuk is urging the City to review the B.C. court case then meet with Wal-Mart officials to arrange a ban on the practice.

He says Whitehorse area RV parks will lose business if they don't.

As this is a nationwide practice for WM, this is not strictly a city issue at all. After much debate, an association of local governments declined to pass an ordinance banning overnight parking. In fact, the local government pushing the issue seems to want to use the issue as leverage over Wal-Mart in other areas:
The Yukon government has helped fend off an attempt to ban overnight RV parking at the Wal-Mart store in Whitehorse.

Territorial officials convinced delegates to the weekend meeting of the Association of Yukon Communities in Haines Junction not to pass a motion to stop the practice....

Magnuson suggests Whitehorse overstepped its bounds by asking for specific legislative changes.

He says the territorial government first has to be convinced that overnight parking at the Wal-Mart is a problem.

Magnuson says the government would then decide how to fix it. After his comments, the issue was put to a vote and defeated.

Posted by Kevin on May, 17 2004 at 02:02 PM