Back­side Pond Park has own fire pro­tec­tion

Camp­site man­ager speaks out on is­sues with Green’s Har­bour LSD

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

The man­ager of Back­side Pond RV Park is fir­ing back at the lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict of Green’s Har­bour, not­ing the park is within its rights to de­cline to pay for fire pro­tec­tion ser­vices.

“We are not in their lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict (LSD), so we don’t have to pay any fees to them,” Perry Mercer told The Com­pass in a phone in­ter­view last Fri­day.

Signs posted around Green’s Har­bour in­di­cate fire pro­tec­tion ser­vices from the Green’s Har­bour/Ho­peall Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment are not supplied to a lo­cal camp­ing park. The rea- son­ing was the busi­ness did not pay a ser­vice fee for pro­tec­tion.

There was some con­fu­sion for a few years, be­cause it was ini­tially be­lieved the park fell within the bound­aries of Green’s Har­bour. It does not.

“At the be­gin­ning they started send­ing us bills,” Mercer ex­plained. “But the bills weren’t com­ing to us. They went to some­body else who owned the camp­ground for a cou­ple of years.”

He ex­plained it wasn’t un­til a col­lec­tion agency was con­tacted that he was even aware there was a con­cern.

“I mean, they’re just up the street, they could have easily came down and spoke to us in the mean­time, and they chose not to,” said Mercer.

The in­voice for fire pro­tec­tion ser­vices for the park was at least $600 per year, Mercer told The Com­pass. But he was es­pe­cially con­cerned since the park is only opened to the public from May 24th week­end un­til Labour Day. On spe­cial cir­cum­stances, sea­sonal campers have stayed un­til Thanks­giv­ing. Other busi­nesses get year-round cov­er­age.

Since the signs went up, Mercer has re­ceived two emails from campers about fire pro­tec­tion. With 200 camp­sites, he be­lieves it’s ob­vi­ous there’s no con­cern for safety.

“If there was a prob­lem, we wouldn’t be (at full ca­pac­ity),” he said.

Although the park won’t re­ceive as­sis­tance from Green’s Har­bour in the event of a fire, it does have its own fire pro­tec­tion equip­ment.

“We do have plenty of our own fire equip­ment,” he ex­plained. “We’re here with three pumps, 650 feet of hose, 1000 litres of wa­ter on the trail ready to go at any time.”

“We are not in their lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict (LSD), so we don’t have to pay any fees to them.” Perry Mercer, man­ager Back­side Pond RV Park

Vis­its from the pro­vin­cial depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for forestry in­spect the equip­ment regularly, and Mercer said they were more than sat­is­fied, even im­pressed, with the equip­ment on site. Sev­eral times a year the equip­ment is tested on site as well. It was most re­cently tested last week.

Mercer be­lieves the signs posted in Green’s Har­bour were un­nec­es­sary, since the park is not in the com­mu­nity’s ju­ris­dic­tion.

“So, to me they were just play­ing a very child­ish game by putting up these signs in the first place,” he stated. “That wasn’t go­ing to go any­where with us, for sure.”

The Town of White­way has re­ceived a re­quest from the park to dis­cuss hav­ing a for­mal agree­ment with them for fire pro­tec­tion ser­vices. Mercer said the fees are not the is­sue, and would sup­port the depart­ment if they were in­ter­ested in work­ing to­gether.

When asked about in­sur­ance sit­u­a­tions, Mercer con­firmed all visi­tors sign waivers when they en­ter the park, so the in­sur­ance com­pany does not re­quire them to have for­mal fire pro­tec­tion ser­vices in place with a depart­ment.

Fi­nally, Mercer con­firmed the park is un­der pro­vin­cial rule, so the depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for forestry would be re­spon­si­ble for a fire be­cause if a camper burns, it’s more likely to start a for­est fire.

“If we had a trailer fire, it is in the for­est,” he said. “You’re not in a park­ing lot some­where, you’re in a for­est. Be­fore the vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers ar­rived the trees could be up in flames.”

As a sec­ondary form of cau­tion though, Mercer fol­lows all warn­ings from the depart­ment. If, dur­ing for­est fire sea­son — May to Septem­ber — en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tion prove to be par­tic­u­larly dry, the park will not per­mit camp­fires un­til af­ter it rains.

Right now, the park will con­tinue its day-to-day oper­a­tions with­out for­mal fire pro­tec­tion ser­vices, but Mercer said the safety of the guests is al­ways pri­or­ity num­ber one.

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