By Lyonel Doherty
An Oliver resident advocating to save Centennial RV Park has managed to get 16 signatures on her petition, but she plans to get a lot more.
Joy Vangen said she spent an hour and a half in the rain last week collecting signatures from people strongly in favour of saving the municipal campground from a proposed hotel plan.
The petition has now been sent to the mayor and council.
“Why did I go out in the pouring rain? I must be crazy; only ducks go out, not even the campers were out . . . maybe I don’t have enough to do.”
Vangen has lived next door at Park Place and has enjoyed the trees in the RV park which is full of motor homes and 5th wheel trailers all summer long.
She doesn’t want to lose the park to the proposed 80-room hotel development that Town council is entertaining based on a proposal from a Kamloops hotelier.
Vangen admitted that she is pursuing this campaign against the odds.
“Those who know me know I’m a verbal person . . . if I’m excited about something I usually speak up, sometimes long and loud.”
Vangen said she doesn’t attend Town council meetings because she volunteers at Sunnybank Centre on Monday nights.
She is encouraging people to use their voice or pick up their pens to alert other people about this situation.
“Shouldn’t we have a vote (on this hotel proposal)?” she asked.
Vangen said she supports the hotel plan but noted it should be built on vacant land and not at the expense of the trailer park.
John and Fern Gould from Oliver agree, saying a hotel will not bring the type of revenue to town like the RV park does annually.
On Monday, Mayor Ron Hovanes acknowledged that the 35-site enterprise is a valuable asset to the community. But so is an 80-room hotel that many councils have been wishing for in Oliver.
He said Centennial RV Park has been a commercial operation for many years, but has “never been a park for the people.”
The mayor said some residents question its history as being donated to the Town as an RV park, but he pointed out that council of the day purchased that property from the province and acquired the KVR right-of-way as well.
“Not every decision that council makes will please everyone. I know people are opposed to the idea (of a hotel in that location), and I welcome that conversation. But I’m hearing from a lot of people who welcome a hotel downtown.”
Council has yet to rezone the property to accommodate the hotel plan, which will be the subject of a public hearing soon.