Gaspé will finally allow campers to occupy the beaches of the municipality, after having considered the contrary.
June 11, 2020 15h38
Updated at 16h14
Gaspé is a backward step and allows camping on its beaches
Initiative of journalism-local – The Sun
The town of Gaspé goes back on its decision and will allow wild camping on the beaches of the municipality. However, the recreational vehicles will be banned in public spaces, such as parking lots, parks and roads.
A week after they announced that the wild camping would be prohibited on the public places of the city, Gaspé turned back. Following many comments from citizens who saw the regulation as an affront to their right of access to nature, the municipality will present a new version of its regulation, which excludes the beaches of this prohibition.
“The main objective was to meet the demands of businesses for better management of the VR, which often relied on municipal land or land private, commercial, without that the owners will not be able to intervene,” explains the mayor of Gaspé, Daniel Côté. By adopting this measure, the city and merchants will be able to call on the agents of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) to intervene with campers established on land that is prohibited. “It is a tool that allows you to exercise some control, but that will probably be applied with discernment,” adds the mayor.
A petition of nearly 3500 names
Following the announcement of the settlement, a veritable wave of protests was being felt among the population. A petition calling for the cancellation of the latter was launched a few days later and has received close to 3500 names in less than a week. Its initiator, Olivier’brien, complained of a regulation “garoché that did that to the requests of the business community and campsites”.
He says he is satisfied with the response of the city, but still holds some reservations, notably about the legality of wild camping. “It is really a good step forward,” notes Mr.’brien, now, we just want to make sure that this is not only tolerated, but indeed helped and mentored”, he adds.
Overwhelmed with comments
Many comments have also poured in during the announcement of the settlement, asking the city council to retract. In the Face of this challenge, the elected officials of Gaspé would be open to reconsider the regulations. In a video released on 4 June, the mayor of the city said that “the council would be adjusted to respond to the will of the citizens.” “The discussions are always healthy in a community, we’re very open,” concluded Daniel Side.
The municipal councillor for district 6, Ghislain Smith, had also said he was surprised by the scale of the mobilization. “I was not expecting such a reaction. I understand that […] losing a privilege of which it was enjoying for many years may be to react,” he wrote. The advisor of the district which includes the areas of York, Sandy Beach, Haldimand and Douglastown, where you can find several locations popular for camping in the wild, concluded that there would be “a good reflection to have” and that the council “would take the time to think”.
A concern of regional coherence
If the mayor wants to legislate on the subject, it is also so that there is a harmonization between the different municipalities in the Gaspé peninsula about camping on public land. “The proposed regulation was modelled on that of several other municipalities in the Gaspé peninsula, which govern already camping on their public spaces for years without causing problems,” explains Mr. Côté.
In the Gaspé region, several municipalities, such as Percé, Chandler, Matane and Carleton-sur-Mer have regulations similar to the one proposed by the municipal administration. The city of Sainte-Anne-Des-Monts would work also on a regulation going in the same direction.
The new version of the regulations will be proposed to the municipal council on 15 June.