We have the right to camp too!
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During this pandemic, it has been "suggested" that people don't go to their cottages in "Cottage Country". It is not law and although it's being discouraged I'm sure thousands, if not tens of thousands, will make the trip from the GTA to Cottage Country.
Camp owners in Northwestern Ontario are no different - unless of course your camp is a trailer at a private campground.
My husband and I own Kashabowie River Resort on Hwy 11 just over an hour west of Thunder Bay. We have over 10 acres of property and 40 permanent seasonal trailers. We do not offer overnight camping so there are no transient campers.
All of our campers are from Thunder Bay and have been camping here for years. They all have their own chunk of property. They all have their own trailer, deck, shed, firepit, boat, dock spot, etc. They already live together in Thunder Bay, they do their grocery shopping in Thunder Bay, they get gas in Thunder Bay and they receive healthcare in Thunder Bay. None of this will change if they are allowed to come to camp. There will be no increased demand on services because they are allowed to come to camp. If anything, there would be a decrease - especially for those who are retired or are currently working from home and could work from camp instead.
Although "camping" will definitely not be the same this year, our campers should not be treated differently from those who own their own private camp on their own private land just because it's within a campground.
Our public washrooms, playground, fish cleaning house, and common area deck will be closed this year. We do not want to contribute to anyone catching this horrible virus and will not promote any public area where transmission could be increased. We will not allow gatherings of more than five and will ensure that physical distancing of at least 6 ft is maintained. We do not believe that any of these restrictions will be an issue.
Although disappointed in the decision to keep Seasonal Trailer Parks and Campgrounds closed until at least May 19th (after the long weekend), we accepted it and communicated the information to our Campers.
Today, we came to discover that 635 Provincial Parks will be allowed to open next week for limited day use activities. Does this make any sense when compared to private campgrounds? Hundreds of people walking, biking, or hiking on the same narrow trails???
I'm sure many of you think this petition is being done strictly from a business stand point - it's not. Most people who have trailers at campgrounds realize this is a community. When we say community, we mean people we have known for over 30 years. We were campers before we were owners and we've maintained a family type relationship with everyone. We are fighting on behalf of our campers because we think they should get to enjoy their camps just like everyone else.
Don't get me wrong, the loss in revenue we are going to experience this year will be unrecoverable. The government has offered our small business absolutely nothing but a $40,000 loan that we will have to repay. The loss in revenue we will experience in May and June is equal to 60% of our total revenue of our 5 month season. At least 60% loss in revenue and an additional $40,000 we will owe over the next three years. We do belong to organizations that are fighting on our behalf to try and recover some of our losses but since we have been ordered closed on April 4th nothing has come about.
We encourage everyone who believes that campers with trailers at private campgrounds sign this petition. As well, maybe we all need to start calling our local government reps for an explanation on what the reasoning is behind these decisions.
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