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Salmon Arm council supports Roots & Blues’ camping application

Festival wants to renew use of farmland, expand area to be used
The Salmon Arm Folk Music Society wants to expand campground use on local agricultural land to accommodate more campsites. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Box number one in the camping process – checked.

City council provided its support on Jan. 13 to the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival for a plan to expand its camping area.

The Salmon Arm Folk Music Society is applying to the Agricultural Land Commission to renew its use of three parcels of farmland for temporary camping, including a request for an expansion on one parcel.

The parcels are at 1300, 690 and 550 10th Ave. SW, across 10th Avenue SW from the fairgrounds, and the society is applying to use the whole 1300 10th Ave. SW parcel rather than a portion of it.

Under the current agreement, a total of 600 campsites is allowed, while the new application would increase the number of campsites permitted to 1,000.

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Although the application refers to two weeks of camping and 1,000 campsites, David Gonella, executive director of the folk music society, told council that it takes festival volunteers seven or eight days to prepare for seven-day camping so it’s unlikely it would be extended for a longer period. He added that last year only 20 people did the seven-day stint and, currently, the only offerings are for four nights.

Regarding 1,000 campsites, he said while 600 sold out last year, 1,000 is “a nice round number” but “not remotely possible.”

Although city council is providing a letter of support for the application, the decision remains up to the ALC, which has allowed camping on the land for the past 15 years.

The camping proposal is also subject to a Temporary Use Permit, which allows a non-permitted use in the city’s A2 or rural holding zone. The city has approved that permit over the past 15 years, with the most recent version to expire after the 2020 festival.

Council voted unanimously to provide a letter of support to the ALC for the camping application, acknowledging the economic benefits of the festival.

Mayor Alan Harrison added that when the festival is over and campers have moved, it takes just a short time for growth to come back.

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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