Oceanfront RV campground in Port Alice, formerly known as Ozzieland, opened for business on July 6.
It was bought from Rhetta and Ozzie Vesna by Monique Anstee on March 18. Anstee is a dog trainer, business owner, dog sport competitor and an author of a dog training book, ‘As A Dog Thinketh: Daily Words of Wisdom for Dog People’, available at most bookstores and on Amazon. She also has a small farm where she raises pork and lamb. She says that, though she has never run a campsite before, hard work and running a business are very familiar to her. Her husband Brian, who works full time for the City of Victoria, will be playing a supportive role in the development of the business.
Officially, the owner of the campsite is their dog, Kate, whose nickname is ‘Stinky Moo’. Kate used to love coming up to Port Alice so much that they informally called the site “Kate’s Campground.” As well as designating Kate as the owner, the company’s legal business name is “Stinky Moo Holdings.” Anstee adds, “The irony is that, because all we do is work when we come up, she doesn’t like it anymore and really is a stinky moo. If you walk past, the dog with the sour face is Kate.”
Initially, Anstee had a “relaxed timeline” for doing the upgrades to the campground, but soon discovered that the locals needed to have the place up and running. In the space of three months after she purchased the property, she started fixing up the land and initiated the business while working full time 500 kilometres away. Because services were not available locally for some of the work that needed to be done, it created delays and increased costs. She adds, “everything North seems to cost more.”
In addition to clean up, junk removal and repairs to the electrical and plumbing systems, Anstee has made some enhancements. She has built larger sites with more privacy. The flower gardens have received extra love and rejuvenation.
Anstee plans to have other amenities besides camping, “but for now, this is it.” She is not planning to open a restaurant at the campground because she prefers “not to poison the locals,” adding that, “cooking can stay with the experts.”
Oceanfront RV will be a seasonally run campsite. Since opening on July 6th, they have had about 10 customers. While they are away, the campsite is being managed by Jacqi, an acquaintance of Monique’s from Victoria.
Getting the campsite up and running on a tight budget while working full time at her job in Metchosin, Anstee admits, has been “far from enjoyable,” but she considers it short term pain for long term gain. She knows she made the right decision and believes that, in five years, she will be glad she did this. She adds that, “Everything in my life that has been meaningful has been stressful.”
Anstee and her husband do not intend to move here permanently, but rather, consider Port Alice as their second home. Anstee loves the community support, the strength of the locals, and the peace, tranquility and slow pace of life here. She claims that Port Alice “…is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen!”
As for her impressions of Port Alice, she states, “If our mayor, Roger, Joe and so many of the other locals are any indication of the people in this place, we consider ourselves blessed to be a part of this community!”
– Debra Lynn article