Rural camping allowed

A Central Alberta man who let friends and relatives camp on his wooded rural property can now do so officially.

A Central Alberta man who let friends and relatives camp on his wooded rural property can now do so officially.

Jack Oszli received Red Deer County’s unanimous approval on Tuesday to run a “campground minor” on his agricultural property, 21 km southeast of Innisfail. This is defined as a small campground with up to 20 sites.

Oszli said he’d been unofficially allowing friends to set up their recreation vehicles on his land near the Dickson Leisure Grounds Campground for years. But some neighbours complained, forcing him to seek a permit.

The county received six opposing letters from people concerned primarily about sewage disposal and potential fire danger, in relation to Oszli’s campground proposal.

Oszli told county officials he hires a professional company to empty septic tanks weekly from recreational vehicles on his property.

He said he also developed fire pits with the required setback from vegetation. But just in case a blaze did spark, Oszli keeps a large storage tank of water on site, along with 425 metres of hose, fire extinguishers and shovels.

County representatives were told that staff worked with Oszli for a year and a half on his campground proposal and they recommended it be approved.

The county previously had no rules for small campgrounds. Oszli said, “I’m the guinea pig.”

“There’s a tremendous need for campgrounds, so it’s nice to see small ones starting up,” said Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood.

Councillor George Gehrke jokingly reminded Wood that Oszli only intended to allow people he knew onto the site. “It’s by invitation.”

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com