Residents continue to oppose RV park
Turner Valley: Strong Way hosts open house for 250-lot recreational vehicle resort
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014 06:00 am
Turner Valley residents continue to battle a proposed recreational vehicle park they say will negatively impact their lives and community.
More than 100 citizens expressed frustration over Strong Way director Keith Schneider’s proposal for a 250-lot purchase-only recreational vehicle resort at an open house in the Sheep River Library on March 12.
“Why don’t you do this park in Millarville where you are from,” asked resident John Plowman.
Schneider responded that Turner Valley is a great location for the resort and already has the services available to get it going.
Schneider is awaiting third and final reading by Turner Valley town council to redesignate the proposed 50 acres from residential to recreation before purchasing the lot north of the Bailey Ridge subdivision and west of Decalta Road along the Sheep River.
This was the second open house held for residents living near the site since council approved first reading for redesignation in September.
Although Schneider says the project will provide vitality to Turner Valley and bring tourists into town, many say the resort would be better located outside the community.
“I don’t think this is what we need for this area,” said Bailey Ridge resident Janet Kercher. “I don’t want to look out my house at an RV park.”
Schneider suggests those concerned about having a recreational vehicle resort in town look at the Coyote Creek Resort in Sundre.
“It’s the style and format we are trying to exemplify,” he said. “I’m not sure people have followed up that recommendation to go up and look at it and research it. I think if it did it might alleviate their concerns.”
As the open house progressed, many residents complained about the format. Some had questions prepared and wanted to ask them formally rather than mingle in a crowded room and speak with Schneider informally.
“I think it’s done very poorly,” said Bailey Ridge resident Marlis Pollock. “Nobody else around could hear what was going on.”
Another concern expressed was people’s inability to find information on Schneider or his company.
“If you were a bona fide developer you would have a website showing projects,” said Bailey Ridge resident Mike King. “We need to know Mr. Schneider’s track record about building these projects. We don’t know anything about Mr. Schneider.”
Schneider said Strong Way doesn’t have a website and likes to operate in the background. He said the company has been in business since 1992 and completed various projects in Alberta communities and he has been involved in land development for 30 years in Alberta.
As for having the resort in Turner Valley, Bailey Ridge resident Chris Niles said the community needs businesses that attract residents at this point, not increase the town’s population by 50 per cent on long weekends.
“The town is struggling with infrastructure,” he said. “Council seems to roll over for anybody with a cheque.”
Niles added people sitting in their units watching satellite televisions does not contribute to the community.
Schneider disagrees, saying the resort will bring business to town.
“We believe in it and believe it’s a great project for the community,” he said. “I’ve met a few people who attended the public engagement process and have been supportive. Some of them told me they live on the Bailey Hill area. I talked to a number of businesses in the business community who told me they are quite supportive of the project as well.”
Among them is Gary Taylor, Turner Valley Golf Club’s general manager, who said the resort would be a great tourist attraction for Turner Valley.
“Anything that brings more people to the area to see what we have to offer is going to benefit the area in the long run,” he said. “I’ve already talked to a number of people who would be interested in lots.
“They’d be close to Calgary and have an RV lot they could go to and enjoy this area.”
Schneider said he hopes his responses resolved people’s concerns, including those about the land being contaminated.
Schneider said the properly was evaluated by a licensed engineer and there was no evidence of contamination.
If the project is approve and once digging begins if the land is contaminated it will be remediated and the contaminated soil will be removed.