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Private campground seeks approval with MD of Bonnyville

A private campground along the shores of Cold Lake that has been in existence since the 1950s is working toward being compliant and has now received approval from the MD of Bonnyville. 
Campground map MD Bonnyville

BONNYVILLE - The MD of Bonnyville has approved an application for a campground development located on the northwest shore of Cold Lake, on Range Road 443. 

The application is for a discretionary use development permit for an intensive recreation use for a campground, heard council during the Sept. 14 regular council meeting. According to background presented to council, the adjacent properties are Crown land. 

“This is an existing multi-owner recreational property, which was previously part of ID 18. All the structures on the property were constructed or placed on the lands prior to 1975,” according to background information presented to council. 

There are structures on the property that are deemed non-conforming due to their placement, as they don’t meet the 30-metre setback from the high-water mark. 

“These buildings are considered non-conforming; they can stay on the land but they cannot be renovated, added to or structurally altered,” said Kristy Poirier, Development Authority Officer. Once the structures aren’t livable, they will have to be removed. 

“The ownership group would like to establish a campground use to allow for continued use of the property and non-conforming buildings until such time as the non-conforming buildings are removed... This proposal does not include any recreational dwellings, and any proposed new development or buildings will require approval from the ownership group prior to applying through the municipality,” according to the background. 

Year-round residential living will not be permitted at the site. Site access, driveway, and parking are already existing. 

“There are 14 lots and the maximum number of recreational vehicles for the site will be 35. There are no adjacent landowners to notify,” according to the background information. 

Administration recommended approving the request for an intensive recreation use for a campground as a discretionary use, but with several conditions, such as the number of recreational vehicles on site at once being capped at 35. The campground must also comply with the Noise Bylaw and the Nuisance Bylaw. 

“Applicable electrical, gas, plumbing, and sewer permits are required as per Alberta Safety Codes Act,” according to the recommended action.  

During discussions, Coun. Dana Swigart questioned the proposal for 40-foot lots if there is a 30-metre setback from the lake.  

"It just kind of looks weird... I guess we’re saying you could never have buildings there... I’m trying to wrap my head around this. Is this a campground or is it something that they’ll rent out forever and the same people will be there forever as a lake lot, is that the deal?” asked Swigart. 

The 30-metre setback is for buildings only, so RV units can be parked within the 30-metre setback,” said Poirier. 

“This is a private campground and to gain access to that you have to be part of the ownership group and ownership is dependent on the ownership group. It’s not open to just anyone,” she explained. 

Swigart further questioned why the application was being made if it was a previously established campground already. 

"(Are they now) applying for an official campground? What’s the difference now?” asked Swigart. 

Council heard that the ownership group is working toward being in compliance. The campground was initially approved under ID 18 in the 1950s. 

Coun. Josh Crick made a motion to approve the development permit application for the campground, as per the recommendation presented.  

During further discussions, following the motion being made, Swigart asked about possible sewer or septic systems and if there were any concerns council should be aware of. 

Ultimately, if the systems have not failed, they would be compliant, heard council. 

A motion to approve the application was carried unanimously by council. 



Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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