Council approves new exit for park
Tension palpable at Clarke’s Beach council meeting as divisions continue
Campers who use MountainView RV Park in Clarke’s Beach now have another means of entering and exiting the park, but only when driving their private vehicles.
In the latest twist to an ongoing dispute that has made headlines for many weeks, the Town of Clarke’s Beach voted 4-3 during a Sept. 19 public meeting to reclassify an “emergency only” exit on Park Avenue as an “alternate exit.”
The decision came following a request from park owner Ernie Mugford, who has been embroiled in a long-running dispute with many Park Avenue residents.
“I want to have the same privilege to enter and exit my premises on Park Avenue as all the others on Park Avenue,” Mugford stated during a presentation to council.
But as part of the approval, it was made clear that only private vehicles — not RVs or travel trailers — are to use the Park Avenue exit.
Mugford offered assurances that only “six or seven” park users will be using the Park Avenue.
Councillors David Moore Jr., Roland Andrews, Eldon Snow and deputy mayor Kevin Hussey voted in favour of the change, while Mayor Betty Moore, Winston Vokey and Gary Bendell opposed the motion.
More than 30 people crowded into the town hall for what had been a highly anticipated meeting, following a summer of rising tension between Park Avenue residents, Mugford and park users.
The issue has caught the attention of the RCMP and the Department of Municipal Affairs, and is expected to continue simmering throughout the fall and winter.
Some Park Avenue residents have been complaining about RV traffic on their narrow, quiet street, and argue that a recent expansion to the park has further eroded their quality of life.
There were several incidents at the park during the Labour Day weekend, with police responding to at least two complaints.
The tension was again palpable during the council meeting, with Mugford starting his presentation by claiming he is being “ harassed to death” and that he was taking legal action against “several members of this committee.”
At one point, Park Avenue resident Mildred Snow, who used her vehicle this summer to block construction equipment from accessing the park, stormed out of the meeting.
“I don’t deserve to live in a gravel pit. That’s just what this has come to,” Snow stated as she left the chamber.
The main entrance to the park is located on Brook Avenue. But for a number of years, a half-dozen or so seasonal site holders have been using Park Avenue as an exit. As a condition of the expansion permit issued this spring by council, the two exits on Park Avenue were classified “emergency only.”
Despite initially agreeing to those terms, Mugford came back to council for a relaxing of the rules, and won the support of a majority of councillors, prompting one observer to refer to council as a “ kangaroo court.”
At one point, councillors debated whether park users have the same rights and privileges as citizens of the town.
“ That question will be answered at a future meeting,” stated Mayor Betty Moore.