The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District has denied a temporary use permit for a campground at Hollies Executive Golf Course.
The golf course, located on Alberni Highway, has been in hot water since summer 2021 for hosting too many RVs. The area is not zoned as a campground, but the owner—Heather Powell—applied for a temporary use permit, which allowed Hollies to change the use of the property for a temporary amount of time.
The ACRD first issued a temporary use permit to the campground in 2017 for a maximum of 22 camping sites. However, the permit expired in 2020, and the number of RVs on site increased, at one point numbering 30. A new application for a temporary use permit was not made until bylaw enforcement staff became involved.
“It hasn’t had the proper zoning or temporary use permit in place since June of 2020,” said Mike Irg, the ACRD’s general manager of planning and development, during an ACRD board meeting on March 23.
In a previous meeting, Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Lucas Banton had concerns about the close quarters of the campsites.
“When units are in close proximity to each other that creates a perfect condition for rapid fire spread from one unit to others, giving occupants less time to escape safely,” he said to the ACRD board in a letter dated Aug. 31, 2021.
ACRD directors also had concerns about long-term occupancy at the campground.
“They’re parked there for a long period of time, not just for overnight camping,” said Long Beach director Kel Roberts on March 23. “It does not appear to be a campsite for short-term occupancy.”
In previous meetings, Powell has said that Hollies was trying to provide shelter for community members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Irg, however, said “significant” ACRD staff time has been devoted to the file.
“It’s certainly resulted in a lot of extra staff time and effort,” said Irg. “Staff are concerned that if this temporary use permit is issued again, significant time and resources will be required to monitor and enforce the temporary use permit.”
The owner can apply to rezone the area, but Irg says a rezoning application has not been submitted at this time.
ACRD directors agreed on March 23 to deny a temporary use permit. Hollies has until June 30 to remove the campsite and bring the property into compliance.
Beaufort director Tanya Shannon said she agreed with the recommendation based on the amount of time and tax dollars that have gone into the issue.
“There’s been a lot of time for the applicant to come into compliance with some of the issues that we’ve talked about,” she said. “We just haven’t seen much action, which is frustrating.”
Powell did not respond to the AV News’ request for comment before print deadline.