A plan to create a recreational vehicle (RV) park in Dry Gulch is closer to fruition after the Regional District of East Kootenay board of directors gave three readings to a bylaw that will rezone the land to allow for the park.

The bylaw will, if adopted, rezone 20 acres of land along Dincey Frontage Road, across Highway 93/95 from Mountain Shadows RV resort, from R1 (single family residential zoning) and R-MP (mobile home park) to RES-1 (recreational accommodation zone, similar to the zoning for many campground-type facilities). The bylaw was given three readings at the regional district board of directors’ May 5th meeting, a few weeks after a public hearing was held on the matter, and will likely be adopted at the board’s next meeting.

“I’ve been working on this project for a number of years now,” said developer Ken Becker. “It’s basically a formality now.”

Mr. Becker is tentatively calling the development the Radium RV Park and current plans call for 122 sites across 20 acres, eventually building up to a full-service RV site. Unlike Mountain Shadows, none of the sites will be for sale. All will be rented on a daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal basis, according to Mr. Becker.

“It will be a nice amenity that the valley can be proud of,” he said. “I’ll be catering to our Alberta guests that we get coming into the valley.”

Mr. Becker has promised to set aside some sites specifically for overnight traffic, according to RDEK Area G director Gerry Wilkie.

“That’s something all of the Upper Columbia Valley directors agree is in short supply and that we need,” said Director Wilkie.

The public hearing, held on April 23rd at the Edgewater Community Hall, drew no attendees except the developer and, consequently lasted less than a minute. The regional district, however, received two letters from neighbours expressing concern about the development from people unable to attend the meeting.

The Pistek family wrote they are not in favour of the development since they feel it will affect the family’s privacy and views and possibly the future value of the family’s house.

Two other area residents who wished to remain anonymous wrote a similar letter, listing many concerns.

“Dincey Road currently has a mobile home owned by the developer that has been in a state of mid-deconstruction for more than a year — it is an eyesore, so you wonder what the developer’s priorities will be once the full development begins. He apparently doesn’t care about how his dilapidated property currently affects property values on this street,” read the letter. “As far as an RV park is concerned, one thing we worry about is having further burglaries in this area due to more questionable characters being in this vicinity.”

The pair also expressed concern that the RV park might have an effect on the water  supply for the Dincey Road area, and about a potential increase in campfires and raucous partying.

“We are unable to sell for a decent price at the present time due to the current state of other properties on this street, so adding more mobile homes or an RV park will not help the situation. It feels as though those with money to invest to develop this area want to segregate the folks with the lower income in this area and in effect, create a ghetto,” read the letter.

Mr. Becker said most of the neighbours’ concern is likely caused by one of his current tenants on the land, who is in the process of dismantling his mobile home.

“I’m leaning on him to see if he can accelerate the demolition of the home,” he said, adding that the development will be done in three phases and work on it may begin soon.

“I’m trying to get it rocking and rolling this season with construction,” said Mr. Becker. “But everything takes a little longer than you’d like.”