At its November 14 meeting, Lake of Bays Council voted in favour of amending its Trailer and Camping bylaw to allow one trailer or tent for the purposes of camping on private, developed lands in the township but only for a consecutive period of 14 days and no more than 21 days in a calendar year.
The amendment does not apply to short-term rentals.
The current bylaw prohibits the use of trailers and camping on all lands within the municipality unless the lands are considered a permitted campground or if a building permit has been issued in which case the use would be allowed only during the duration of the construction of a dwelling.
Another amendment to the bylaw approved by council will leave the enforcement and regulation of camping on Crown lands up to the Crown as per the Public Lands Act.
Township Director of Building and Bylaw Services, Stephen Watson, said staff were not recommending the ability to place a trailer or a tent on vacant lands. Watson gave a myriad of reasons including the noise related to the potential use of generators, especially near water where their sound would be magnified. He also spoke of the inability to control the removal of trees or the impact on wetlands. Watson said there could also be more strain on burning bylaw enforcement and he also noted the potential impact of such trailers on sightlines.
“In short, we are recommending that we permit the use of trailers and tents on developed lands but we are not recommending that we do it on vacant land,” said Watson, adding in his report that allowing camping on privately developed lands will allow a property owner to have family and friends to stay for a short period of time. He also noted the trailer and/or tent must conform to the required setbacks of the zone the property is located in and that no permits would be required.
Councillor Mike Peppard said he understands there would be a lot of work involved by the municipality to allow anything on vacant lands but said If he bought 25 acres of land and was unable to put up a pop-up tent on it for a week, it would be an issue for him.
Still, the majority of council did not want to entertain allowing camping on vacant property in the municipality. Staff’s initial recommendation would have seen only seven consecutive days of camping allowed on developed lands and a maximum per calendar year of 14 days, but Councillor Bob Lecroix and Mayor Terry Glover both made a case for allowing people to camp for up to two weeks and a total of 21 days per year instead, noting that many people visit for two week holidays.
In the end, a majority of council voted in favour of amendments to the bylaw that would allow people to camp on privately held developed property for two weeks and up to 21 days out of the year, except Councillor Nancy Tapley who voted against it.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!