Tents won’t be restricted

A proliferation of tents in the provincial park and more and more in Centennial Park prompted councillors to ask what could be done.

A proliferation of tents in the provincial park and more and more in Centennial Park prompted councillors to ask what could be done.

The report that came back to their July 8th meeting recommended taking no action to restrict tents.

Ron Lebsack, director of community services, said the province has no restrictions in the provincial park and no intention of restricting them.

RCMP and municipal enforcement officers have no concerns or complaints and haven’t dealt with any issues related to tents pitched in the area, he said.

“It’s more an issue of the space it takes up on the beach,” said Councillor Dale Plante who initially raised the concern. “I’m comfortable with the fact it’s too hard to enforce but we should be aware of it (the issue). They’re growing greatly. This weekend they were tying hammocks to our trees.”

Councillor Ken MacVicar agreed with Plante. “My concern is the park is where people should be able to enjoy themselves. The proliferation of these tents … I don’t see the need for them to be set up in a day park area. With more and more it may turn into more of a concern.”

Councillor Laverne Asselstine said he’d spoken to a police officer casually who had “sorted out some territorial issues”. The lack of a restriction on size was another concern Asselstine noted. “What about someone coming in with big marquee tents.”

“I have seen a couple of legs and wires going over paths, over sidewalks in Centennial Park,” said Councillor Sean McIntyre. He thought council should at least address the issue of keeping pathways clear.

Mayor Susan Samson suggested the town’s beach ambassadors collect information about the number of tents, identifying what’s happening and provide feedback at the end of the season.

Lebsack’s report noted when Plante first raised the issue, councillors discussed a complete ban on tents or banning fully enclosed tents but allowing open faced tents designed specifically for creating shade.

He indicated any restriction would require “very visible signage for information and enforcement”. A partial restriction, he said, would be “very had to enforce”.

His recommendation was that council not proceed with restricting tents in Centennial Park.

Asked about overnight camping, Lebsack said the town doesn’t allow it in Centennial Park, through a section of the Community Standards Bylaw. Overnight camping is not allowed in the provincial park either.