Backside Pond Park has own fire protection
Campsite manager speaks out on issues with Green’s Harbour LSD
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.