Mahone Bay rejects rule change that would permit glamorous camping development


  • <p>A sample image of a dome tent, submitted to civic politicians in Mahone Bay in conjunction with a glamping proposal.</p>

Mahone Bay rejected a Main Street resident's request for a change to land-use and planning rules that would have permitted a so-called glamorous camping - or glamping - retreat near the community boundary with Maders Cove.

The proposal, which town council recently voted down, sought changes to categorize glampsite, campsite, or retreat as tourism establishments, which would have authorized such commercial uses within the town's residential unserviced zone.

Rae Kraushar proposed developing a glampsite retreat on her three-and-half hectare property last summer, explaining to civic politicians the benefits of boosting visitor capacity with the aid of an ecologically-friendly accommodation alternative, complete with dome tents that have skylights for stargazing. The request included establishing up to 20 glamping sites with each site comprising a raised platform with a domed tent. Communal washrooms, kitchen space and activity space would compliment the tent sites.

"I would like to share this beauty with the locals and visitors, who want to spend time in nature's healing and not only experience the local hospitality of the town but wish to delve a little deeper into it's natural beauty," she explained to the town in written correspondence.

Glamping is capturing the attention of more and more people. Increasingly, they're recognizing the appeal of getting back to nature without the hassle of travelling with and setting up camping equipment, or the expense of buying equipment for possible one-time use, and the lack of comfort that camping often presents, according to Kraushar. She proposed a series of retreat programs for yoga, astrology, writing and meditation.

Mahone Bay planning officials recommended rejection of Kraushar's proposal, largely due to complications associated with a change of legislation in the midst of the town's ongoing process of reviewing policies and regulations.

However, residents lined-up in objection to the glamping concept and potential legislative change affecting their neighbourhood. Impacts on property values, noise concerns and litter worries were among issues outlined.

"Expanding the permitted commercial activities outside the commercially zoned areas and into other zones, as the proposal is requesting, is contrary to the philosophical intent or essence of this land-use by-law purpose," wrote Gregg Little, in his submission to civic politicians, which was among those considered during a town council meeting in January. "This requested amendment, or expansion of permitted use, is not a site specific or a single property modification. This change will affect all [residential unserviced] zoning in town and this is not an insignificant area."

John and Sari Moriarty, who live three houses away, wrote they "are normally not averse to introducing new businesses into the community, but we feel that this project has a number of serious issues which must be addressed."

"In the summer [we] enjoy sitting out front in the summer on the aforementioned porch with our neighbours, viewing the bay. I do not see how this proposal, no matter how well designed and/or monitored will not impact negatively on that enjoyment."

Meanwhile, town council referred Kraushar's request, along with the correspondence, to the consulting firm that is tackling the ongoing review.

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