After touring several area RV resorts, Lacombe County Reeve Terry Engen is more confident that large projects planned for his municipality could prove a good fit.
Engen said on Thursday that condo associations at the resort had clearly established strong presences and were strict watchdogs when it came to lot development.
“It was very interesting to see how strict the rules are and what they’ve created amongst themselves as an association and how they are adhering to those rules.
“It was rather enlightening.”
RV resort operators were also frank about past problems and how they were addressed. “I think council found that to be very valuable.”
Faced with proposed developments that could see well over 2,000 RV lots developed around Gull and Sylvan Lakes over time, county council has been taking a cautious approach to how best to revamp its bylaws to make way for the projects while preventing “overdevelopment.”
Councillors have expressed concerns about RV lots becoming littered with vehicles, quads, boats and sheds. They also don’t want to see what are intended to be seasonal getaways turn into year-round housing developments.
The RV resorts have already proved controversial, with some rural landowners and summer village residents opposed to the scale of development proposed.
To get more information, county councillors and staff embarked in June on a day-long bus tour to Carefree Resort and Gleniffer Lake Resort on Gleniffer Lake and also Coyote Creek Golf and RV Resort, southwest of Sundre.
Engen said after seeing how existing resorts are operating, many of his concerns have been alleviated. For instance, quads and motorcycles are allowed in, but can’t be taken off the truck.
Associations also have a say in how lots look.
“They are very strict on what the architectural design is up front and they don’t become a mobile home park.”
Engen said the self-governing role of condo associations provided a lesson that won’t be lost when council crafts its bylaw for RV resorts.
County Councillor Bill Knight said council was especially interested in finding pitfalls to avoid. But there were few problems found at the resorts they visited and he believes the county needs to allow similar developments.
“My own personal thoughts is we need a place for people to relax and get away from the stress and that.”
Councillors are still hoping to visit Raymond Shores on Gull Lake, but managers there have yet to allow a tour. Okotoks RV Park flatly rejected the county’s tour request for reasons unknown.