West Nipissing council is considering adopting regulations for camping trailers within the municipality. But first, staff are going to draw up some options for council’s consideration, and councillors also want to hear from people on the issue.
No date has been set for a public meeting – there might not be one – but council does plan to gather information from the public. This isn’t the first-time opinions were sought regarding trailers. In November 2019, municipal staff had meetings to discuss the issue, which were well-attended, especially in River Valley, which had 72 people come out.
Some residents also sent comments to the municipality in writing.
Essentially, council wants to know if there is a will to adopt a licensing by-law for camping trailers within the municipality. Should there be by-laws dealing with the number of permitted campers, where trailers are set on a lot, and what type of zones campers should be allowed to park in? What about requirements for septic facilities?
Council wants to know, as the issue can divide. Some prefer the government to back off – my property, my trailer, my business – whereas some neighbours don’t enjoy the mobile additions to an adjacent lot.
There’s also the issue of taxes, and temporary ‘residents’ paying their fair share. If you live in a trailer for months on a lot in Verner, say, odds are you’re going to use the dump, perhaps the water, and if your barbecue sets the awning ablaze, you might even expect the fire department to show up.
That first round of public meetings uncovered that most in attendance were not in favour of regulating camper trailers. However, the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority advised council that without regulation, waterways and the environment could be affected. The Ministry of Environment told council the same thing. This was in September of 2019.
See: West Nipissing looking to regulate camping trailers
Throughout 2020 and 2021 the issue was debated at council. The idea of licensing and registering trailers was dismissed entirely by the council of the day. More public consultation took place, and residents could share their thoughts via a portal staff created on the municipal website.
Those comments remain on file for the current council to consider.
2022 saw the municipal election, and since then, the matter has not returned to the council table. But now, the trailers are coming back, and the future of camping may be determined in the upcoming months.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca