Lake Country debates orchard camps

Lake Country residents who turn their orchards into campsites may face some tough rules.

Council members spent considerable time Tuesday discussing concerns associated with recreational vehicles and tents being located on farm land.

“We will look at some kind of regulations,” said Mayor James Baker.

Under the provincial Agricultural Land Commission, up to 10 campsites are permitted per orchard.

However, the municipality has received complaints from Oyama residents about campfires and vehicles.

There is also a concern that some of the roads leading to the orchards don’t meet standards to accommodate heavy traffic.

“We want to support people making a living from the land because we’re all for agriculture but it’s not a well thought out policy,” said Baker.

“There is a lot of servicing needed if everyone has 10 sites.”

District staff has been directed to prepare zoning bylaw amendments regarding siting of units, buffering and the number of units allowed on a parcel of a given size.

Until the zoning bylaw is amended, all new applications for tourist accommodations on ALR will be forwarded to Council for consideration.

After a waiting period of seven days, council can withhold further applications for a period of 30 days.

During those 30 days, council must consider the application and decide whether to withhold the permit for a further 60 days or issue the permit with conditions that are in keeping with public interest and the bylaw that is under preparation.

By implementing some regulations, Baker hopes the district can reduce some of the conflict surrounding campgrounds.

Baker isn’t convinced commercial campgrounds are making it more viable for residents to operate farms.

“A lot of the people putting in RV parks are not necessarily relying on agriculture for living,” he said.