Plans for a major expansion of Seal Bay RV Park and Campground on Vancouver Island in British Columbia have won the unanimous support of rural directors on Comox Valley Regional District, according to Canada.com.
One reason for the growth in demand is that some older ‘snowbirds’ living in colder parts of Canada now find health insurance for travel to the United States impossible to get.
But in winter they still want to seek out milder climes than those in the frozen heart of the country, and the Comox Valley is a great option, according to site owner Paul Butcher.
As reported on Tuesday (April 14) by the Echo, Butcher wants to triple the number of RV stands he offers from 50 to 150 and add enhanced facilities, including a new shower block.
Twenty acres of the 65-acre property, lying north of Courtenay, is zoned for tourist commercial development and the expansion would be confined to that area.
On Tuesday, the regional district’s electoral services committee endorsed the plan.
Area B (Lazo North) director Jim Gillis said he had visited the site and ranked it as the best private site he had ever seen, and he believed the expansion was a good use of the land.
Chair Bruce Jolliffe sought assurances that the amount of water to be drawn from aquifers below the site would not adversely affect supplies to other users.
Butcher said the plan envisaged tapping in to the third and deepest aquifer, as far fewer people drew on that source. He also planned to have a big storage tank for back-up supplies.
He also confirmed there were no plans for permanent RV placings on the site – the maximum stay would remain at six months, although most visitors were there for much shorter periods.
He believed there were good opportunities to attract more people to stay in winter as well as summer.
As well as attracting more snowbirds, he also saw potential for increasing the number of people visiting for ski vacations.
Because the whole of the site lies within the agricultural land reserve, the final decision on Butcher’s plan will be made by the Agricultural Land Commission. That body approved the original campground 12 years ago.
Regional district community planning manager Tom Knight said while the Comox Valley Agricultural Advisory Committee had decided not to support the expansion, they had – at the time – been unaware that the part of the site being discussed already had commercial tourism zoning.
Letters drawing attention to the need for more camping facilities to replaced closed sites in British Columbia had also been received from both the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce and the B.C. Lodging and Campgrounds Association.