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Council gives another "no" to Centennial Park camping

Last year was the last one for camping at Centennial Park for special events.

Last year was the last one for camping at Centennial Park for special events.

Although they’d unanimously decided last year that it would be the last allowance of camping at Centennial Park for special events, such as the Summer Bonspiel and a Victoria Motorcycle Club event, the issue was brought up again, earlier this year.

Hearing new information from Cowichan Rocks Curling Club president Thor Repstock and Victoria Motorcycle Club member Pat Foster, council re-opened the books on the previously closed issue.

The following is how the town’s elected officials voted, during their Tuesday, May 10, committee meeting:

Ross Forrest - Yes

“I would hate to turn people away from our community,” Forrest said, explaining his decision, adding that campers would stay at the park under all of the town’s rules and regulations in place.

Forrest said that he’d also like to see campers walking back to their nearby campers rather than driving to their camp spot, as he recognizes that curlers drink in the curling lounge.

“I look on things a bit differently than I did a few years ago,” he said. “The world does change, and so my opinion changes also.”

Jayne Ingram - No

“I’m torn on this,” councillor Jayne Ingram said, before making her decision clear.

“I am concerned about the  losses to our local businesses,” she said. “This is a very difficult decision for our council.”

Ingram said that campers could just as easily use a bus out to Lakeview Park, or other existing nearby campgrounds.

Franklin Hornbrook - No

“I’m not ready to flip flop,” councillor Franklin Hornbrook said, of the camping issue. “It opens the doors for other things to be flip flopped.”

Citing a meeting last year, wherein mayor and council unanimously said that it would be the last year for camping, Hornbrook said that the groups in question have had a full year’s warning that there’s to be no camping at Centennial Park, this year.

Bob Day - Yes

“I’m going to waffle on this decision,” councillor Bob Day said, of last year’s decision to bring an end to Centennial Park camping.

“I made a decision based on what I had at this table, and one or two taxpayers.”

Now, with new information brought forth, Day said that allowing camping at Centennial Park, with fees going toward the Centennial Park reserve fund, would be a win-win situation.

“If we continue along this path, we are shutting the doors to opportunity,” he said, of turning down tourists.

Tim McGonigle - ?

Councillor Tim McGonigle was unable to attend the May 10 meeting, so did not have his vote heard.

As such, council’s 2-2 tied vote means that their 2010 decision to disallow camping at Centennial Park will stay in place.