They’re not exactly luxury accommodations, but the Lumby Lions Campground has turned into long-term affordable housing for some this winter. Now the Village of Lumby says the eight residents who have set up trailers there have to leave by mid-February.
Some campers say they have nowhere else to go and closing the campground is not fair.
“I think it is very unfair and uncalled for,” said camper Darrell Turner.
“What are we harming? Who are we hurting?”
Turner says he doesn’t know what he will do when they are forced to leave on February 15. His neighbour Virginia Meuier is in a similar situation. Unable to find an affordable place to rent that will accept her dogs, she has been living in her trailer at the campground since October and paying $300 a month.
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“I don’t think it is fair at all. Some of us have nowhere to go so that’s why we are here,” Meunier said.
The Lions Club has been operating a campground on land owned by the Village of Lumby for years, but this year the club decided to try something new and keep the site open over the winter.
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The club says it only found out after accepting winter campers that keeping the site open year round wasn’t allowed.
When the Lions Club asked for permission to keep the site open this winter, the village rejected the request. The mayor says allowing winter camping at the site would put the municipality in a difficult legal situation.
“It would now be viewed as a mobile home park in the eyes of the court so now then we have to start supplying sewer and water,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.
Instead of legitimizing what he considers to be, an unsuitable living situation, the mayor is promising the village will work to find new homes for those who are being displaced. Only one of the campers has a full sewer and water connection.
“We can’t halfway take care of people. We need to either take care of them or not take care of them and I am choosing to take care of them. We are going to find a place for them to live. We are going to find a place that is suitable,” said Acton.
While Turner and Meuier say they have nowhere to go when the campsite closes, others have already made alternate plans. One camper will be house-sitting and another says he will be moving his trailer to his job site. A third camper said he was only staying at the campground for a month while working in the area. He will simply be returning home.
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