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Regional district rejects proposed camping resort on Tabor Lake

Applicants sought to build 100-campsite RV park on the south side of the lake

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George unanimously voted down a controversial proposal for a 100-campsite resort on the south side of Tabor Lake on Thursday.

Applicants Elizabeth and Mervin Sadowick had requested a three-year temporary use permit to allow their proposed business to go forward on a trial basis. They were seeking to develop the campground on a 153-acre property at the end of Six Mile Lake Road – about 15 minutes from Prince George.

The site previously had a private home on it, before it burned down, the Sadowicks wrote in a letter to the district board.

"We feel that this project will benefit the neighbourhood by providing better access to Tabor lake, the existing trail network and a venue for local camping opportunities and family events," they wrote. "The goal of the resort is to provide treed, quiet, private camping sites and family focused recreation activities to the community. The Tabor Mountain Trails adjacent to the property provide an extensive 407 km multi-use trail network with recreational opportunities for both motorized and non-motorized users."

In addition to the RV-only campground, the Sadowicks planned to build a large picnic gazebo, mini golf area, playground, kids biking area and a small convenience store/office on the site. The couple expected the resort would employ six people on a seasonal basis, with two full-time caretakers onsite year-round.

The regional district board received 55 letters and emails in support of the project, and 48 opposing it. The Sadowicks requested the regional district postpone a decision, to allow them to address the concerns raised by some of the letter writers.

Director and Prince George city councillor Terri McConnachie proposed a postponement to give the Sadowicks the time to respond. The motion was defeated.

"I don't know if the applicant has any way to remediate any of the concerns, but I won't get that without a postponement," she said. "I am reluctant to make a decision without all the information."

Director Dannielle Alan said there is no point in postponing the decision, because many of the concerns can't be addressed by the applicants.

"This is a fragile lake, and the last thing it needs is more development," director and Mackenzie Mayor Joan Atkinson said. "I think the decision should be make today."

Board vice-chairperson Lara Beckett said the applicant can always bring back a new, different proposal for the land. But the proposed resort would "have a pretty significant impact."

"I will not support it. The main concern is damage to the health of the lake," Tabor Lake-Stone Creek director Bill Empey said. "There is concerns about serious damage to the ecosystem on the south side of the lake."