The campground where owner Don Orr wants to build cabins

Cabins create controversy

PORT HARDY—Don Orr said he had no idea his plans to build a few cabins would create such an uproar within the North Island hospitality industry.

PORT HARDY—Don Orr said he had no idea his plans to build a few cabins would create such an uproar within the North Island hospitality industry.

“I did anticipate some opposition, but not that much,” said the man who owns the five-acre Port Hardy RV Resort — the former Sunny Sanctuary — at 8080 Goodspeed Rd.

“Nobody wants to see more competition, but it’s just the nature of the beast.”

Several people got up to speak at a July 12 public hearing on the matter, before the regular District of Port Hardy council meeting, and many more wrote letters opposing the cabins.

Donna Harvey wrote in a letter to council that she and her partner have no trouble with a little competition.

“We just feel, at this time, Port Hardy has many accommodations that are not being utilized,” wrote Harvey who, with Dan Zimmerman, owns Ecoscape Cabins.

Harvey pointed to the abandoned and derelict Seagate Hotel as an example of what could happen if council does allow Orr to build the cabins.

“Some of the older hotels are just making it as it is and with 20 potential less rooms per night they could end up closing their doors and end up being another eye sore in our community.” But Orr said he doesn’t plan to build 20 cabins at once.

He originally put in a proposal to do 20 “middle of the road, nothing super fancy, nice little self-contained” cabins because he believed the district was asking how many he wanted to do overall.

“People were saying at the meeting I was immediately building 20 cabins and that it would devastate the economy, so I wanted to clarify I only wanted to do four to six at this particular time and see how things went — pretty simple, I thought.”” he said.

“If the need was there I’d build some more, but if the need wasn’t there for another two or three years, or if it never arrived, I wouldn’t build anymore.”

But Shannon Dayley, of Bear Cove Cottages Resort, said the addition of any extra rental accommodations would be “a great burden” on her business.

“In recent years Port Hardy’s hotel and B&B industry has been hit hard with the Queen of the North sinking in 2006 and the global economic crisis that we still face today,” she wrote in a letter to Port Hardy council.

“We do realize it is every person’s right to prosper and have success (but) in this case there simply seems to be too many businesses and livelihoods at stakes.”

Karl Thomas, of the Quarterdeck Resort, agreed and said competition is the last thing Port Hardy’s hospitality industry needs right now.

“We feel Port Hardy has enough accommodations to serve our current market,” he also wrote in a letter to Port Hardy council.

“Although it is good to see the town attracting local investment, this particular area of business is at capacity already.”

And Tony Choi of the Airport Inn said it doesn’t make sense to add new rooms for rent.

“In the past six years we have seen a decrease in summer BC Ferry traffic, sports fishermen as well as tour operators,” he wrote.

“With the economic downturn we are seeing less business travellers and meeting attendees to fill our rooms. It is our opinion that this would be detrimental for all accommodations in Port Hardy.”

The land is currently zoned Tourist Commercial, T-1 with a commercial land use designation.

Orr said he applied, at the urging of District staff, to apply for a rezone to C-3, which allows campgrounds combined with hotels or motels.

“All I wanted to do was put in a couple of cabins, but was told the zoning wasn’t right,” said Orr, who also owns Port McNeill’s Black Bear Resort, a 40-room resort and spa.

“So they said well, we’ll change it to C-3.”

But at the July 12 meeting, council decided to toss all that and look at rezoning as an amended T-1 to include cabins, motels and hotels.

“(Council) wanted to put all the tourist stuff into the tourist commercial, which makes sense to me,” said Orr.


Just Posted

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

PHOTOS: Port McNeill residents remember the fallen

A huge crowd of Port McNeill residents came out on Nov. 11… Continue reading

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Port Alice resident a descendant of two Aboriginal war heroes

Charlie and Henry Byce are Canada’s most decorated father and son in history.

Port Hardy council hesitant to formalize question period in agendas, refers it to committee

In first act as new council, representatives were uncertain about formalizing question periods.

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read