Rod Kelly says the government's move to evict long-term gravel pit campers has already hurt his business and things should have been handled differently.
Kelly owns a shopping centre, takeout and lounge in Howley, where nearby campers were ordered to remove their property from Crown land.
He says he's long recognized the environmental hazards and eyesores that some of these campers have caused over the years, and he thinks the government was right to take a stand. But he thinks officials should've worked with the campers to resolve the problems or, at the very least, that the notices should have handed out later in the year so the campers' summer wasn't ruined.
Instead, everybody is upset, Kelly said. There has been public outrage towards campers, and the campers are unhappy at having to remove their campers and other structures.
"I am seeing the impact already because a lot of those campers spent a lot of money with me, moreso than the cabin owners to be honest with you," he said.
"I lost, I'd say, 50 per cent of my summer business because of it. I had everything here they wanted and they didn't have to worry about getting into town."
Cold beer, liquor, ice, food and gas are just a few of the products that were popular with campers, some of them occupying campsites developed over the last 40 years. Kelly said families would drop into his takeout and adults would frequent his lounge.
He figures the loss of business will lead to layoffs.
Strangely enough, Kelly said, he's even been accused of being behind an effort to get rid of the campers - mainly because he has a trailer park of his own in a different area of town.
"If I opened my mouth, it was like chopping off my own right arm," he said.
"I am totally not in favour of the mess that was out there, but, from a business point of view, I really appreciated having them."
He said it was a case of a few bad apples spoiling the whole bunch, while some campers made an honest effort in to make it right.
Kelly hopes to regain some of the lost customers through his trailer park, but realizes that some can't or won't pay a fee, even if he offers reduced rates.