In a significant move, the Richmond Municipal Council in Nova Scotia (Canada) has unanimously approved amendments to the Isle Madame Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use Bylaw, paving the way for the establishment of small-scale campgrounds and the use of recreational vehicles as seasonal dwellings.
This decision, made during the council’s regular monthly meeting following a public hearing in Arichat, marks a notable shift in the region’s approach to outdoor recreation and housing, a report from 989 FXM highlighted.
The amendments were prompted by a series of complaints received by the Eastern District Planning Commission (EDPC) regarding unpermitted campgrounds around Grand Lake, off Grandique Road.
In response, EDPC staff conducted site visits in August, identifying six properties with multiple recreational campers. This discovery led to a reevaluation of the existing bylaws concerning campgrounds and recreational vehicles.
Richmond’s Planning Advisory Committee urged the EDPC to distinguish between small private campgrounds and larger commercial ones within the Isle Madame land use bylaw. As a result, certain requirements for recreational vehicles, such as window coverings to reduce light pollution and undercarriage skirting, were removed, simplifying the process for campground development.
The Council has mandated that recreational vehicles used as dwellings must obtain on-site sewage disposal approval from the Department of Environment and Climate Change.
This move ensures environmental compliance while facilitating the use of recreational vehicles as habitable spaces. The EDPC confirmed that the department is equipped to approve holding tanks, essential for maintaining sanitation standards in these new small-scale campgrounds.
Acknowledging the province’s ongoing housing crisis and the potential for increased recreational opportunities, the Council highlighted the importance of these amendments. They allow residents to establish small campgrounds, primarily for personal use, such as for family and friends. This initiative is expected to boost local tourism and provide alternative housing solutions.
Under the new regulations, small-scale campgrounds, comprising two to five camping units, will be permitted within designated zones. These campgrounds can include various types of recreational vehicles, such as travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, or park model recreational vehicles, serving as seasonal main or accessory dwellings.
Each recreational vehicle in these campgrounds must be positioned at least 15 feet away from other buildings and recreational vehicles, ensuring safety and privacy for occupants. This spacing requirement is crucial for maintaining an organized and enjoyable camping experience.
For campground and outdoor hospitality operators, these changes offer a new avenue for business development. Small-scale campgrounds represent a growing niche in the outdoor recreation industry, appealing to those seeking a more intimate and personalized camping experience. This development is particularly beneficial for regions like Isle Madame, where tourism plays a significant role in the local economy.
Operators can capitalize on this opportunity by developing small-scale campgrounds that cater to families and small groups. These campgrounds can offer a unique blend of outdoor adventure and comfort, appealing to a broad range of campers, from seasoned enthusiasts to those new to the camping experience.