Concern: People camped without permission on city property near the SASCU Rec Centre and caused problems for residents of nearby townhomes.

Campers upset neighbours

Rec centre: Fire safety, noise from unauthorized use.

Loud partying, people relieving themselves on the ground, obnoxious attitudes.

These were just some things residents living near the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre say they had to put up with during the weekend of Aug. 22 and 23.

Brenda Harrison lives in the Creekside development behind the swimming pool. She experienced a sleepless, frustrating and nerve-wracking weekend because of people attending hockey events who were camping in the rec centre parking lot.

“They just partied hard – you couldn’t sleep if you wanted to,” she says.

“They had music too, but it wasn’t my biggest concern, it was the language, and the invasion of privacy… The more they drank, the louder they got.”

Harrison estimates there were about a dozen vehicles with trailers, tent trailers and a tent.

Frightening for her was the use of a gas open pit fire and barbecues near the trees surrounding the complex where she lives.

“I’m not using my own barbecue because there are all these dry, dry trees around our complex, and they were camped right there…” she stated last week.

Harrison says after her first sleepless night, she went over and asked the campers, who were adults, if they could move to the other end of the parking lot, nearer the curling rink.

“They were all sitting in a a circle and the one hockey player said ‘Sure,’ and sarcastically said, ‘Nice doing business with you.’ When I was walking away, they all burst into laughter. This is where I felt so humiliated at the brunt of a big joke and I burst into tears.”

The campers did eventually move to the other side of the parking lot.

Harrison said she was grateful for the fire department responding quickly to her request for help. After the campers moved, Harrison said, they partied harder and began howling at the moon. One of the partiers relieved themselves on the edge of her neighbour’s lawn.

“It was just a gong show.”

Harrison said if people are being allowed to camp in the parking lot, they shouldn’t be allowed to do so right under residential windows.

“The swim club gets noisy but it’s not the same. And they’ve improved through the years too,” she said, adding that generators, however, are noisy for neighbouring properties.

Another resident, Barb Angrignon, has written a letter to city council on behalf of Creekside Townhome Strata Owners regarding the weekend’s activities. It will be on the agenda at council’s Sept. 14 meeting.

City staff report that the parking lot camping on the Aug. 22/23 weekend took place without the city’s permission.

Kevin Pearson, director of development services, explained in an email to the Observer that no one on staff has been designated the authority to approve RV camping, so the unwritten policy of staff is not to approve it.

However, city council can approve RV parking in the lot, which it did in February this year for the Salmon Arm Sockeyes’ July swim meet.

Pearson said zoning of the land allows for a campground, but not without city permission.

“Staff is looking into the matter to see how this can be prevented in the future,” he said, noting the city does not have bylaw enforcement capability on weekends.


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