Marc Palardy, owner of Strathmore Highway Camping, said there has been an increase in interest from the public about living at the campground as a cheaper alternative to a more traditional residence. 

“This June, it will be my 30th year here, so I am not new to this game. With camping, over the years the county has brought in legislation and you are no longer allowed to camp year-round,” he said. 

Palardy described that regarding his living situation on the campground, he has been grandfathered in, and falls outside of the county’s jurisdiction. 

Conversely, he explained the county has conditioned any discussions regarding potential small-home or year-round camping developments on him surrendering his own year-round permit. 

“They, for some reason, do not want campers year-round. I am not sure what their reasoning is, but it is very obvious to me because they wanted me to surrender that on multiple occasions and in years of discussions,” said Palardy. “I do have a permit to have people here year-round, but they cannot live in a small home. They are allowed to live in a tent, (and) they are allowed to live in a trailer that is not designed to be year-round.”

Palardy had previously offered winter camping, though has since dramatically reduced his capacity due to increasing prices in electricity. 

As soon as patrons of the campground reside in dwellings that are akin to, or are classified as small homes, they are unable to stay at the grounds year-round, as that would be in violation of Palardy’s permit. 

“The only way I would be able to do it under current legislation would be if I made the small home, built to look like an RV … and that is just not feasible,” he said. “That is not going to happen. I am certainly not going to put out $100,000 to build small homes that look like RVs because my county thinks that is appropriate. I think they need to review their current situation. We have a housing crisis here in Canada. I think the answer is staring everybody in the face.”

Palardy explained having small homes fueled, particularly in the winter months by gas furnaces, would cost a significant amount of money, as opposed to dealing with the costs of electricity, and patrons plugging in space heaters. 

No requests to present as a delegation or further requests to initiate discussions with the county have yet been made. Palardy is not optimistic about their willingness to come to the discussion table, and is also seeking a way to establish solar panels on his property. 

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 08, 2024 at 09:42

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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