More con­tro­versy for Clarke’s Beach

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Mil­dred Snow is ex­er­cis­ing her right to free speech, and she’s do­ing it with pas­sion, con­vic­tion and courage. The Clarke’s Beach re­tiree is tak­ing a very bold stand against the ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to an ex­pan­sion of an RV park in the town, and whether you agree or dis­agree with her stance, she’s to be com­mended for her spir­ited strug­gle.

All too of­ten, cit­i­zens refuse to voice their con­cerns and ob­jec­tions when they feel an in­jus­tice is be­ing done. But Snow feels a line has been crossed, and she’s stand­ing up for what she be­lieves in.

First, she took her strong views to the Town of Clarke’s Beach dur­ing a re­cent coun­cil meet­ing, ar­gu­ing that the grow­ing park is im­pact­ing the qual­ity of life of prop­erty own­ers who live within close prox­im­ity of the camp­ground. She also chal­lenged mem­bers of coun­cil, and ques­tioned whether they had given the is­sue enough con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore ap­prov­ing the de­vel­op­ment of 50 new camp­sites back in April.

Then, on Thurs­day, frus­trated by the con­stant rum­bling of con­struc­tion equip­ment and the sound of de­mo­li­tion ac­tiv­ity tak­ing place across the street from her home, she took stronger mea­sures. She parked her car in the street, tem­po­rar­ily halt­ing traf­fic to and from the site. She agreed to end her protest af­ter an RCMP of­fi­cer ar­rived on the scene, sat­is­fied that she had made her point.

Sev­eral other area res­i­dents share the same con­cerns be­ing ex­pressed by Snow, but none have come for­ward in so pub­lic a fash­ion. They are qui­etly ask­ing how it was pos­si­ble that a busy camp­ground was ever per­mit­ted to be es­tab­lished so close to a res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood. And they are won­der­ing why it is be­ing per­mit­ted to ex­pand, with very lit­tle in the way of in­put from those most im­pacted by the park.

These are all very le­git­i­mate ques­tions. The town did ad­ver­tise the ex­pan­sion ap­pli­ca­tion from the park owner in this pub­li­ca­tion, and in­vited res­i­dents to share their views. None did. Know­ing that, coun­cil set down a list of stip­u­la­tions and gave its bless­ing for the ex­pan­sion.

Could it have done more? Ab­so­lutely. Did any mem­ber of coun­cil knock on any doors in the area, ask­ing opin­ions of the pro­posed ex­pan­sion? Did any­one check with other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for ad­vice on how they may have han­dled sim­i­lar de­vel­op­ments? And did coun­cil go far enough in its stip­u­la­tions for ap­proval? Is the park owner do­ing enough to es­tab­lish a buf­fer be­tween his op­er­a­tion and the home­own­ers, some of whom feel their right to the quiet, peace­ful en­joy­ment of their prop­erty is be­ing com­pro­mised.

It’s never an easy sit­u­a­tion for an elected of­fi­cial when you have to bal­ance the needs of cit­i­zens with that of a grow­ing busi­ness in a mu­nic­i­pal­ity. Let’s just hope the scales were not tipped too far in one direc­tion in this case.

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