REPORTING · 12th October 2010
Allan Smith took the stand at the Kitimat City Council Meeting on Monday, October 5th to talk about camping at Hirsch Creek Park.
“I’m here to represent 20 families from Edmonton who have come here the last 20 years to camp down at Hirsch Creek. On July 7th this year, the RCMP came out there and told them they had to move,” said Smith.
Smith said they were reported by a dog walker. He said there were not enough campsites at Radley Park to accommodate these campers and Kitimat lets people camp right on the riverbanks and even provides facilities for them. This group does not want either and each of the families pays about 2-3 thousand dollars on food, alcohol, fishing tackles, licenses in Kitimat.
“These people are now talking about not ever coming back to Kitimat, not talking very nicely about Kitimat because they were asked to be removed from Hirsch Creek. We were all out there that night Kevin Vermette went on his rampage. I was actually the one who phoned the RCMP and asked them if they were shooting bears out there,” said Smith.
He expressed he was upset about losing Hirsch Creek and that trees do not fall only at night. There are dangerous trees all over Kitimat. “I would hate to see this community because we have no more industry in this community as we speak except for Rio Tinto and we don’t know where Rio Tinto is really going to go right now,” said Smith.
He said this is money from all over Alberta and Kitimat needs to keep their businesses surviving in Kitimat. He said facilities do not matter to these people and they clean up the camp while they are there. He asked Council to open Hirsch Creek for the campers. He added management at the District Yard could not believe the RCMP came out to speak to them.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff agreed that they did not wish to lose tourism and economic activity. Council was presented with a copy of a letter from one of the campers. Mayor Monaghan thanked him for coming.
Feldhoff made a motion for staff to come back with a report regarding the suggestions made. He said they were planning to convert the park to wilderness with minimal upkeep but people needed a place to camp. Councillor Bob Corless said he was curious in what sort of complaint brought the RCMP out because other people have stayed there. The motion was amended to include this report. It was carried.
Hirsh Creek Camping
Comment by Ralanda Doniak on 22nd October 2010
Here's an idea. Why not open the park up for bids to have it run as a municipal park with caretakers? I am sure some retired couple would jump at the opportunity to make some money while encouraging tourists to enjoy our area. We quite often camp at Ferry Island in Terrace which is run in that mannere simply because it is close to the townsite and has services to offer. Kitimat should have the same. We live in Kitimat and have to drive to Terrace to find a decent campsite. Pretty sad. Hirsh Creek could be a goldmine with the right people running it. It has the scenery, the river and plenty of room to expand. Maybe a gated site would also reduce the misuse of the park.
My husband and I are already thinking of our retirement years and for us avid campers the caretaker/host job looks very appealing when that time comes.
Hirch Creek Campground
Comment by larry walker on 12th October 2010
If you actually believe that these 20 or so people spent two or three thousand dollars in Kitimat you are dumber than dumb. Sure they spend money on motorhomes, campers, trailers, boats, etc and money on gas, meals and time getting here but they spent maybe one or two hundred dollars in Kitimat. Suggestion....put a high camping fee on the park and then at least the town gains something. They came for the fish and the fishing because it is better than anywhere else and probably a lot cheaper.