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Editorial: Campground land not suited to agriculture

ALC decision heavy-handed when weighing all considerations
The Chemainus River Campground’s prognosis for the future got a lot shorter with an ALC decision that allows it to continue, but only under the present ownership. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Logic seems to have been thrown out the window in the Agricultural Land Commission decision on the Chemainus River Campground.

The campground has been in existence for 20 years. Amazingly, the commission apparently didn’t even know the campground was located within the Agricultural Land Reserve until a plan to expand came to its attention.

All the things that happened in the past to arrive at this stage are moot points. The bottom line is the campground will basically cease to exist after owner Jeri Wyatt sells the property.

It must revert to some form of agricultural land, even though the site has been proven to have limited growing potential from extensive studies done by experts.

The insistence of the ALC in making the campground’s demise imminent makes no sense.

It currently provides short and longer term accommodation for many people as well as being a popular spot for visitors to stay on vacations. With the housing crisis impacting so many, those who have used the site to bridge the gap before going to more permanent locations are stuck.

If only the ALC was so diligent in ensuring all current land with agricultural value within the ALR is preserved, there might be value in the reasoning. But that’s not happening.

There’s land all around the Island coming out of the ALR for housing that would be better suited for agriculture. We have to think about our food sources and green spaces as well.

The Chemainus River Campground is not a valuable commodity for any agricultural purpose on its own. Oh, you might be able to grow a few berries in one corner of the property, apparently, but who can make that sustainable?

The water situation is also dicey and it’s not feasible to try and tap more of a dwindling resource on the site.

That just means Wyatt will have a hard time finding a buyer and the property essentially goes to waste, not serving any useful purpose.

So wouldn’t it be better to just maintain the campground as it is? With this decision, the property’s value will be diminished for Wyatt and anyone who takes it over will have a hard time making it pay.

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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