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 Posted in    |  on July 28th, 2017  |  by

Controversial RV resort proposal is back on in Canal Flats

A proposal to build an RV resort in Canal Flats is once again on the table.
Upper Columbia Valley developer Barry Benson had put forward a plan to create an RV resort in the village back in 2015, but withdrew the application for rezoning after a stew of unfounded rumours circulated throughout the Flats and stirred up a flurry of controversy and opposition. Indeed the Echo reported Canal Flats residents against the proposal, tromping out a summer 2015 council meeting shouting in triumph after the application was pulled.
Mr. Benson is revisiting the idea now, and a public hearing on his proposed resort is slated for Wednesday, August 2nd at the Canal Flats community hall.
“We withdrew last time because of the large amount of misinformation that was out about the project,” he told the Pioneer. “We still have to go through a process, but we’re hopeful it will pass this time. If it does, this RV development will provide a significant economic benefit to the village.”
Mr. Benson estimated that benefit at $5.5 million — $3 million in initial construction and contractor business, and the rest in secondary construction business (such as building decks or gazebos for RV owners), and spin-off spending at local Canal Flats businesses.
He is taking pains this time round to emphasize changes to the latest version of the proposal, which if approved will result in the first long-term lease RV park in Canal Flats. Another RV park already exists, but operates as more of a campground for short-term stays.
“The biggest change is that the proposal we have this time is two parts — there is a 12-lot single family residential lot proposal, as well as a 152-site RV resort,” said Mr. Benson, adding the single family lots will be located along the existing Bighorn Estates development, and will consequently reduce the visual impact of the planned RV resort for Bighorn residents.
“The RV sites will all be leased on a long-term basis, with a minimum one-year term. So this will not be a campsite. No nightly rentals, tenting, and transient campers will not be permitted. Wood burning fires will not be permitted,” he said, adding the new proposal also envisions additional buffer space between the resort and existing Canal Flats homes, and that the developer will pay for all water, sewer and electrical services for the resort.
Another big change, according to Mr. Benson, is that the developers are looking to find a local property owner to help with boat storage.
“We’re really excited, and we see this proposal as a great opportunity for the community,” he said.
To learn more about the proposal visit http://bighornestates.ca/rv-resort.html.

Steve Hubrecht
Email: steve@columbiavalleypioneer.com
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Reporter Steve Hubrecht arrived in the Columbia Valley after working for newspapers in Fernie, B.C., and Beijing, China. He spends as much time outside as possible – if he's not at the Pioneer and Echo office, he's probably out telemarking or hiking. He grew up in southern Ontario and graduated with an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario in 2006.

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