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Many people showed support for campground bylaws at public meeting in Grey Highlands

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BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — A public meeting on campground and minimum dwelling sizes drew a crowd at the Grey Highlands council chambers on Monday, May 27.

Many people were in attendance to show their support for having a bylaw in place to allow for campgrounds in Grey Highlands .

Michael Benner, Director of Building and Planning Services for Grey Highlands, provided some information about the current bylaws. The zone for campgrounds, which is defined as cabins, tents, etc does not exist right now in the current zoning bylaw. It is recommended to change the Open Space zone to allow for recreational use.

The Municipality sought feedback from the public in attendance and examples from other municipalities. There will be a second public meeting, then a draft bylaw will be created for council’s approval.

Comments from the public included:

  • Existing campgrounds should be grandfathered
  • Would this bylaw determine maximum nights of stay, waste disposal, site plan approval, noise, seasonal uses?
  • A minimum set back of 20 feet should be established, deep enough and wide enough, not crammed together, not permanent
  • Grey Highlands needs a campground
  • Currently, people who come here, have to stay overnight in Collingwood which does not make sense, so campground is needed
  • Campground customers spend money locally in Grey Highlands towns and villages
  • Tourism builds economic growth but it is very costly with all the steps involved to opena campground
  • Containment systems that are pumped out, have black water and grey water systems are necessary
  • Lake Eugenia is over populated, a capacity study is needed
  • The Ontario Building code does not allow for pumping out Cottages on Lake Eugenia which can have a lot of people staying there on a weekend
  • Visitors who come with campers can't find a campground so currently ask to stay over in homeowners backyards

One person in attendance spoke out against campgrounds, his comments were:

  • Septic systems need to be properly built
  • Rural water protection and surface water protection are important, so campgrounds need to be on appropriately sized property

Alexandra Anderson from Camping in Ontario was in attendance at the meeting. She said, when asked about how long it takes to get a campground approved, "The number of regulations and approvals needed take years to secure and they are very costly."  She has been with the association for almost 14 years, and the Executive Director for close to 6 years.   

Anderson continued, "There are over 150,000 campsites in Ontario found in over 1,000 campgrounds. Ontario is home to close to 36% of all campsites in Canada. Unlike other outdoor recreation, camping appeals to all age groups. Currently, our campgrounds cater to traditionalists (pre-boomers), boomers, gen x, and millennials. Given that boomers and millennials are the largest population segments, and they both love to camp, it is not surprising that camping is very popular. Visitors from all over the world come to Canada to camp. They rent RVs and travel all over the province to visit our amazing beaches, lakes and other sites. They are not familiar with our long weekends and/or they do not plan ahead – so in many instances, they cannot find a campground that has space. So they end up camping in parking lots at campgrounds or other locations. Our website has visits from many European countries every day. We are very lucky in Ontario – we have a beautiful province with an abundance of clean water and great campgrounds. Who would not want to come camping here?!"

The second part of the meeting was about minimum dwelling unit size. Currently the municipality's minimum size for a house is 968 square feet.

Changes will be made to the zoning bylaw as small and more affordable units are needed. The municipality is looking at either reducing or eliminating the minimum size for dwellings. Many other municipalities have already removed the minimum dwelling sizes from their building codes.

Some concerns expressed by people in the past were that homes of various sizes disrupt the character of a neighbourhood. The older bylaw was a way to control density. It was suggested that areas of smaller homes may be created so they are not next to larger homes. Other issues to consider are lot coverage, set backs and services. New developments could be areas where small homes are set together. Walkability is an aspect that home owners consider in today’s market.

Comments from the public included:

  • Pocket neighbourhoods with one driveway are happening in the States
  • Small units have been contained within a house but designed to look like a traditional single family dwelling. Four-unit homes are another consideration such as in Leaside in Toronto
  • Minimum lot sizes are also things to consider
  • Bungalow courts might work with parking behind the units.
  • More and more people are getting tiny homes and parking them anywhere

A second public meeting about campgrounds and the minimum dwelling size will take place, but it was not announced when this will happen.


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Updated March 12, 2020.

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