Empty gravel pits bad for business

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'I am seeing the impact already,' says one Howley merchant

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.

Howley -

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.

Geographic location: Howley

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Recent comments

  • GARY
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I for one do agree with getting rid of some of the eye sores that are out there in da pits. That being said I am one of the true gravel pit campers. For almost 18 years my wife and I travel almost a 1 hr drive to have a weekend getaway from the noise of the city. To relax in the quite outdoors. Now i have gone thru 3 trailers in that time and only last year spent 10 grand on another one. I do think the Gov. should have some kind of law that can keep both sides happy. In the pit i go to there are about 25 campers of which I would say 12 are TRUE campers. People that come for the weekend or holidays and keep their site clean and looking good. The others may be there sometime over the summer, but don't look after their campers and sites.
    To my understanding there always was a rule about our camping style. Nothing can be perminent or built in these sites. That being said the camper should be moveable. If the trailer is not regestered or have a sticker for that year than it is not moveable. Why not go that route and that way the Gov. can get some more revinue for these crown lands. Other wise if they kick everyone out it would be just a bare peice of ground. Another one is if you want to Pit camp why not have a yearly fee that you can pay so you can camp. Another income idea for Gov.. I for one and a lot of other people I found out this year would have no problem with this fee. Just not knowing that you go out next week and find a letter on your trailer that you have 60 days to move.
    Any how, yes get rid of these people that don't look after their campers and make eye sores of our great prov. and look after the ones that enjoy the great outdoors and pick up after these people...
    Got to go...Off to da pit again!!!!

  • Jason
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I don't think its the governments responsibilty to ensure business can continue to make money off illegal campers. There is something in that equation thats not right. Its like opening up a drug store directly across from a crack house and complaining when police shut it down that you lost business..

  • Stan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    i think poor rod kelly doesn't understand the first rule of owning a customer service buisness is location location location and he did have a prime location for campers, but now his campers went to either a new location or their home location. talk to the buisness owners in these areas and we'll see if those campers moving caused them to stop consuming or do they just now do it somewhere else?

  • Donny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    When you're half in the bag and you can't take a chance on driving into town it was nice to know that tons more beer was just a hop skip and a jump away. The chances of getting pulled-over for a DUI during that jaunt was little or none.

  • GARY
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    I for one do agree with getting rid of some of the eye sores that are out there in da pits. That being said I am one of the true gravel pit campers. For almost 18 years my wife and I travel almost a 1 hr drive to have a weekend getaway from the noise of the city. To relax in the quite outdoors. Now i have gone thru 3 trailers in that time and only last year spent 10 grand on another one. I do think the Gov. should have some kind of law that can keep both sides happy. In the pit i go to there are about 25 campers of which I would say 12 are TRUE campers. People that come for the weekend or holidays and keep their site clean and looking good. The others may be there sometime over the summer, but don't look after their campers and sites.
    To my understanding there always was a rule about our camping style. Nothing can be perminent or built in these sites. That being said the camper should be moveable. If the trailer is not regestered or have a sticker for that year than it is not moveable. Why not go that route and that way the Gov. can get some more revinue for these crown lands. Other wise if they kick everyone out it would be just a bare peice of ground. Another one is if you want to Pit camp why not have a yearly fee that you can pay so you can camp. Another income idea for Gov.. I for one and a lot of other people I found out this year would have no problem with this fee. Just not knowing that you go out next week and find a letter on your trailer that you have 60 days to move.
    Any how, yes get rid of these people that don't look after their campers and make eye sores of our great prov. and look after the ones that enjoy the great outdoors and pick up after these people...
    Got to go...Off to da pit again!!!!

  • Jason
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    I don't think its the governments responsibilty to ensure business can continue to make money off illegal campers. There is something in that equation thats not right. Its like opening up a drug store directly across from a crack house and complaining when police shut it down that you lost business..

  • Stan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    i think poor rod kelly doesn't understand the first rule of owning a customer service buisness is location location location and he did have a prime location for campers, but now his campers went to either a new location or their home location. talk to the buisness owners in these areas and we'll see if those campers moving caused them to stop consuming or do they just now do it somewhere else?

  • Donny
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    When you're half in the bag and you can't take a chance on driving into town it was nice to know that tons more beer was just a hop skip and a jump away. The chances of getting pulled-over for a DUI during that jaunt was little or none.