Neighbours at odds over proposed Oak Haven campground

Sari Green/Courier Fred Stafford of Oak Haven is building a campground on his property to accommodate up to 10 travel trailers. Although he has applied for all of the necessary permits and has done everything according to regulations, a neighbour believes he has not, and that having a campground in the area will ruin the landscape and the noise will be a disturbance.

OAK HAVEN – One neighbour is trying to build a small campground on his Oak Haven property. Another neighbour says it will have a detrimental impact on the area. And so begins the battle, especially once Fred Stafford receives the zoning approval for his campground. Neighbour Tamara Follett said it is not something she is going to take lightly, and she plans to fight tooth and nail to keep the proposed campground from being built.

“One of the neighbours has applied for two amendments to have a trailer park here,” said Follett. “It’s for vacationers, two spaces. So we have an average of two people living in a lot. They’re talking about going up to 20 (people)on their lot, 22 if you count the owners of the property, and 22 people on one piece of property is going to ruin the natural peace of this area.”

Follett is worried the natural quiet of the area will be effected, and said she doesn’t believe her neighbour has applied for and received the necessary permits required to build, own, and operate a campground on his property.

unsaved changesBy Sari GreenSari Green/CourierTamara Follett of Oak Haven is upset about the idea of a proposed campground in her neighbourhood. She said the neighbour who is building the campground has not applied for the proper permits, and he is damaging the landscape. The neighbour, Fred Stafford, said he has applied for and received all of the necessary permits, and all he is waiting for is the rezoning permit to be approved.

Stafford said he has all of the appropriate ducks in a row, and would not have started the process without permits. He wants to move forward, and not having permits would make that dream impossible. With the exception of the rezoning permit, which he is currently waiting on, Stafford has indeed received the appropriate paperwork for everything he has done on the property, including adding required septic tanks and electrical hookups for each campsite. He provided copies to the Courier for verification.

Follett said the homes in the area are well separated from one another, allowing everyone to have their own little piece of paradise, along with the peace and quiet they longed for when they moved to the area. She said they value their privacy, isolation, and the peace and serenity of Oak Haven.

“We all are retirees who saved our whole life to be able to afford a place like this,” said Follett. “We bought isolated so we would be isolated, and now the service commission thinks it’s okay to come in and allow 10 trailers. That’s 10 times the people, twentyfold increase on the people on that lot.”

Stafford said when it comes to partiers, it is the last thing anyone needs to worry about. He said the campground is going to be for a handful of senior RV’ers who want to enjoy the area as much as the year-round residents do.

“This campground is not going to be a campground for people to come and go,” said Stafford. “They’re seasonal lots. You come in and put your trailer there. Now, if you want to take your trailer and go away for the weekend, that’ll be fine.

“But I’m not going to have people coming for the weekend or one night. This is going to be a seniors’ park. Probably by 9 o’clock at night, most of them will be in bed, or sleeping in their chair like me.”

Follett worries there will be a lot of noise, despite Stafford’s claims his campground will be for quiet seniors. She said she can already hear noise from the Island View Campground in Bayside, because the sound carries over the water. But, she has no issues with it, because that campground is on a major thoroughfare.

While walking along the beach, Follett pointed out what she believed to be dredging on the embankment, which she said will eventually be turned into a boat launch. Stafford said there is absolutely no room for a boat launch in this location, and that he has no intention of attempting to put one in. She also pointed out a shiny substance in the water coming from the spring above, and figures it is oil or another type of effluent. Stafford said he has no idea what the substance might be, but it is definitely not oil.

“They’re going to go down and dig out that effluent, and then it will be gone and they’ll say it never happened,” said Follett.

“Don’t ask me what that is, because I don’t know,” said Stafford. “I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not oil. It’s not an unnatural substance, because it just comes from the ground. That’s not oil. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not oil, because there’s no oil on this property. That comes from an underground spring. When we were digging back there we came across it. The water down there is not coming from this pipe. There are two four-inch pipes under that pipe that go directly to that underground spring.”

Another issue for Follett is the road itself. She said it is a poorly-maintained, dirt road loaded with potholes, and it won’t be able to handle the weight of the extra traffic. Stafford argues the campers won’t be coming and going, and their trailers will be parked at the campground for most of, if not the entire season.

“It’s covered in potholes. It’s a narrow, winding road. It can’t take these great big vehicles that are going to be on it. It can’t take 10 households a day, more, suddenly, overnight, running into town for cigarettes and snacks,” said Follett, who also worries that the addition of a boat ramp will further erode the beach area.

Stafford said there will not be any type of boat ramp going in, because the path is far too small to be able to do this safely. It is a walking path only, to get to the beach.

“I had two four-inch pipes under there, and they wouldn’t take the water. They weren’t big enough. That’s what happened over the winter (trench enlarged). That washed out. The only erosion that’s taken place here is that gravel that I put in here,” said Stafford.

Stafford said he has brought in people from the Department of Natural Resources, and “every inspector you could imagine”. He was told that he owns that section of the bank, and that he can do anything he wants to it as long as he doesn’t go below the high water mark. He did remove one tree, which was dying, because he was afraid it would become a hazard if it were to fall over.

“I haven’t broken any rules or regulations, contrary to what that person over there says,” said Stafford.

Follett said at one time, she ran a bed and breakfast on her property. When asked what the difference would be between that and the proposed campground, she said there would be a lot more people staying at the campground at one time than at her former inn.

“I had one couple at a time,” said Follett. “They’re having 10 couples, plus the original owner. Plus, partiers. I keep going back to this. Vacationers are going to be partying the entire time. That’s the Canadian way. We understand it. We don’t blame them. That’s the Canadian way. But, we don’t want it in our neighbourhood, where we spend our life savings.”

Another neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, said he has no problem with the small campground being built.

“Everything that Fred has done here, inspectors have been in, and everything has been done as properly as possible,” said the neighbour. “The banks have been preserved. The trees haven’t been damaged at all along the shore line. Everything was done, as far as I know, to spec.

“This is a naturally made gully right here. The water runs down the hill, and this is the path it takes. It was likely there 100 years. That’s all I have to say. I have no problem with it. Everything was done properly, up to codes and specs, no damage done. If anything, it preserved the property and the bank better.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca