Anger per­sists over con­tro­ver­sial park

Some Clarke’s Beach res­i­dents say they have had enough

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

The con­tro­versy that erupted this spring and sum­mer over a 50-site ex­pan­sion at Moun­tain­View RV Park in Clarke’s Beach has again fi­ared up, and there’s ev­ery in­di­ca­tion the feud will con­tinue for some time to come.

A res­i­dent of Park Av­enue used his ve­hi­cle to block a se­condary exit from the park last week in or­der to stop the de­par­ture of a car­a­van of travel trail­ers from the United States.

Dan Mor­ris­sey parked his ve­hi­cle in front of a newly con­structed exit after notic­ing sev­eral RVs leav­ing the park and mak­ing their way along the nar­row, res­i­den­tial street. The park’s main en­trance/exit is on nearby Brook Av­enue.

“ This is un­ac­cept­able. They’re do­ing what they want,” a frus­trated Mor­ris­sey later told The Com­pass as he paced along the street with his wife Pat and an­other up­set neigh­bour, Max Oller­head, on Mon­day, Aug. 30.

The Mor­ris­seys and oth­ers con­tinue to ac­cuse park owner Ernie Mug­ford of ig­nor­ing a coun­cil di­rec­tive that he only use two ex­its on Park Av­enue in the event of an emer­gency, and mem­bers of the town coun­cil also came in for more crit­i­cism, with some say­ing coun­cil is not pro­tect­ing the in­ter­est of tax­pay­ers.

“Pay at­ten­tion to all the res­i­dents of Park Av­enue. Not just Mr. Mug­ford,” said Pat Mor­ris­sey.

It’s yet an­other chap­ter in the on­go­ing feud be­tween area res­i­dents who say the park, which is lo­cated within close prox­im­ity to a res­i­den­tial area, is in­ter­fer­ing with their qual­ity of life and devaluing their prop­er­ties, and Mug­ford and his sup­port­ers, who say the park is an important con­trib­u­tor to the town’s econ­omy.

Caught in the mid­dle is Mayor Betty Moore and mem­bers of the town coun­cil, who have been try­ing to find a com­mon ground be­tween the two sides.

Nails on the ground

In re­cent months there have been emo­tional out­bursts at pub­lic meet­ings, a stop­work or­der that was later with­drawn, threats of law­suits, per­sonal at­tacks and plenty of fin­ger-point­ing. A face-to-face meet­ing be­tween town of­fi­cials and those on both sides of the dis­pute last month ap­pears to have solved noth­ing.

Mayor Moore said she even re­ceived a re­port re­cently that some­one had dumped a quan­tity of nails on the ground near one of the park ex­its on Park Av­enue.

“ There seems to be a lot of per­sonal is­sues that are at­tached to this,” said Moore. “That’s not help­ing ei­ther side.”

She said the dis­pute has been a ma­jor dis­trac­tion, and “many other things are not be­ing ad­dressed.”

Last week’s block­ade was the sec­ond time a res­i­dent of Park Av­enue ob­structed traf­fic from the park. Ear­lier this sum­mer, Mil­dred Snow, who lives di­rectly across from the park, used her ve­hi­cle to block heavy equip­ment from us­ing the emer­gency exit as work on the ex­pan­sion was on­go­ing.

Mug­ford has vo­cif­er­ously de­fended his ac­tions in the past, whether it was at coun­cil meet­ings or in me­dia in­ter­views, but was not in the mood for talk­ing last week.

When ap­proached, Mug­ford told The Com­pass, “I have as much right to use a pub­lic road as you do.”

When asked if the ex­its on Park Av­enue were for emer­gen­cies only, Mug­ford replied: “ When I see an Amer­i­can tourist with a 45-foot bus with a short-turn­ing ra­dius, I say that’s an emer­gency.”

Mug­ford than got in his pickup truck and drove away.

Mayor Moore said it has been ex­plained to Mug­ford on sev­eral oc­ca­sions that the Park Av­enue ex­its are for emer­gen­cies only.

“ I think there could be more co-op­er­a­tion be­tween Mr. Mug­ford and the coun­cil, and I think there could be more co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the area res­i­dents also,” she said. “As a coun­cil, we are try­ing to look out for ev­ery­body in that area.”

Coun­cil meet­ing sched­uled

The topic is ex­pected to dom­i­nate the Sept. 19 meet­ing of the Clarke’s Beach town coun­cil, since it will be a “del­e­gates” meet­ing, mean­ing those who wish to address coun­cil can do so.

Mug­ford is ex­pected to re­quest that he be per­mit­ted to use one of the two ex­ists on Park Av­enue as an en­trance/exit, a move that’s likely to fuel the fires of dis­con­tent on the street.

Mayor Moore said she will not sup­port such a re­quest.

“I don’t want Park Av­enue to be any type of thor­ough­fare for Moun­tain­View Park,” she said.

Mean­while, the Mor­ris­seys and Oller­head say the sit­u­a­tion is so frus­trat­ing that they are re­con­sid­er­ing their long-term plans for the com­mu­nity.

“ This man’s greed is just after tak­ing over ev­ery­thing,” Oller­head said.

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