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Campground Expansion Near Cold Lake First Nations Approved Amid Concerns

Concerns were raised about expanding a campground in the Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville. Still, the council approved the request after discussions during a public hearing. The expansion of a campground owned by Paul Gullickson aims to add 50 RV campsites intended for recreational use.

A motion by Deputy Reeve Josh Crick led to the approval of a development permit for campground expansion within NW-7-63-1-W4M as a discretionary use, with specific conditions. These conditions include minimum setbacks, lighting direction, adherence to Alberta Safety Codes, compliance with noise and nuisance bylaws, unobstructed emergency vehicle access, and Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority approval.

However, the MD administration received letters from Cold Lake First Nations (CLFN), which is situated to the north of the campgrounds, expressing their concerns. Kim Warnke, a policy analyst for CLFN, spoke to the council on behalf of the Nation and their subsidiary, Primco Dene, articulating a stance that was supportive, but also highlighted several concerns.

Warnke outlined several concerns, including septic and blackwater dumping, trespassing, noise pollution, fire safety, and encroachment. There were also worries about the campsites potentially turning into a work camp.

Gullickson explained his 11 years of experience running campgrounds and his personal licensing to design and install sewage systems. He assured that the campground has a history free of illicit dumping incidents.

Additionally, Warnke highlighted that the applicant’s website offers year-round leases, which could inadvertently lead to the property becoming a work camp. 

“The lack of controls around the operating months raises the risk that the property will become a de facto work camp, with or without the operator’s knowledge,” Warnke said, as reported by Lakeland Today on June 5.

Councilor Dana Swigart acknowledged these concerns and reminded Gullickson that work camps require a specific application. However, Gullickson clarified that the recreational sites are intended as family camps, not as work camps.

Another concern is the emergence of off-road trails connecting the campground to neighboring parcels. Gullickson shared this concern and mentioned his efforts to block the trails using stumps and video surveillance to monitor the area.

Warnke also requested a clear perimeter be established to identify the property line for guests, citing that CLFN members use the nearby lands to practice their treaty rights and for historical gathering spaces.

Gullickson reiterated his working relationship with the First Nations community, expressing confidence that any issues could be resolved through open dialogue.

The situation surrounding the campground expansion near Cold Lake First Nations offers valuable lessons for campground owners regarding the importance of engaging in open dialogue with local residents. This case highlights how proactive communication and collaboration with local communities and indigenous groups can help address and mitigate concerns early in the development process. By actively listening to the worries of neighboring landowners, campground owners can find mutually beneficial solutions that foster good relations and community support.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Campground Expansion Near Cold Lake First Nations Approved Amid Concerns! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/canada/alberta/campground-expansion-near-cold-lake-first-nations-approved-amid-concerns/