Andrew Cornwall
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Nova Scotia RV Parking Ban
* * * NEWS FLASH: June 25, 2010 * * *

The Tourist Accommodations Act remains the law of the land in Nova Scotia, however, officials of the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage have stated that RV owners, as well as landowners are not committing an offence by simply parking or allowing parking overnight of an RV in a parking lot (i.e.: shopping mall parking lots and other private property). According to the earlier interpretation of a provision in the Tourist Accommodations Act, a private landowner who did not have a campground license was subject to prosecution if he/she allowed RVers who were members of the travelling public to park overnight on his/her property. Since the law was enacted in 1994-95 no property owner has been prosecuted for violation of this provision, nevertheless, otherwise RV friendly property owners would have been intimidated by the mere threat of legal sanction.

Don McKelvay, past president of Region 2 and (designated) International Membership Chairman of the WBCCI (Wally Byam Caravan Club International Inc. - 6,600 Airstream owning member families in the North America), reported that on March 11, 2010 the Hon. Percy A. Paris, Nova Scotia Government Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage sent the following message to the WBCCI Region 2 Legislative Chairman, Stan Drake:

From: Minister of Tourism, Culture & Heritage
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:55 AM
To: Stan Drake . . .
Cc: . . .

Subject: RV Parking in Nova Scotia

Dear Mr. Drake:

I am responding to your email of February 6, 2010 concerning RV parking in Nova Scotia.

Although the Tourist Accommodations Act is still in place, we have determined that RV owners are not committing an offence by simply parking overnight in a parking lot. In addition, from research we have conducted, we are satisfied that we should not be regulating where RV travellers stay while visiting Nova Scotia. Therefore, we are pleased to advise you and other RV travellers that there is no ban or law restricting RV parking in Nova Scotia. Over the last couple of years, we have been notifying individual travellers as well as RV clubs of our position.

We continue, however, to promote and encourage the use of our private, provincial and federal campgrounds for the safety and comfort of our visitors. As a means to enhance your overall Nova Scotia experience, we encourage you to view or call our toll-free Check In Nova Scotia Reservation Service at 1-800-565-0000 to find a campground suitable to your organization's needs and requirements.

Your comments are important to us and we thank you for them. Please be assured we appreciate your business and hope the RV community will include Nova Scotia in their travel experiences.

If you have any further questions concerning this, please feel free to contact Doug Matthews of my staff . . . .

Percy A. Paris

The statement from the Minister is specific regarding protection of RVers who park overnight in other than a licensed private or public campground, but the Tourist Accommodations Act is directed at property owners, not RVers. The Minister's words "there is no ban or law restricting RV parking in Nova Scotia " imply that private property owners could be permitted to allow RVers to park overnight, however, the status of private property owners is not specifically referred to.

There is further the potential issue of whether property owners are being informed about the Government's policy of not enforcing the parking ban. If they are not being made aware then property owners without campground licenses would still be reluctant to allow RVers to park overnight.

To clear up any ambiguity about the status and notification of land owners Don McKelvay sent an e-mail query to Doug Matthews, Manager of Quality Assurance with the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. Mr. Matthews is the senior official in the Department responsible for enforcing the Tourist Accommodations Act. Mr. Matthews reply follows (bold added for emphasis):

Subject: Re: RV Parking in Nova Scotia
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2010 08:49:45 -0300
From: Douglas Matthews
To: Don McKelvay

Good morning and thank you for your email. I would be pleased to respond to your questions and clear up any confusion.

I will respond to your questions as they appear in your email.

Question 1: (unlicensed) private property owners will not be charged if they allow RVers to stay overnight.

Answer: correct.

Question 2: private property owners are being notified that they will not be charged thus expanding the opportunities for RVers to have places to stay.

Answer: The only people/groups contacted were shopping mall owners/managers, Walmart etc. These are groups that had traditionally welcomed individual RV owners and caravans at their property. Our emphasis was on these groups because our Campground Owners Association in Nova Scotia were concerned about the number of individual RV's staying at shopping malls. All the Walmart's in NS removed their " no overnight parking " signs after we sent out the notice. This was two years ago.

Question 3: actions have been taken to officially inform RV organizations that RVers are most welcome in Nova Scotia whether they are camping in commercial/provincial campgrounds or parking at other private properties.

Answer: correct. I have written to a number of groups through their web sites concerning this matter.

As Minister Paris indicated in his letter:

"Please be assured we appreciate your business and hope the RV community will include Nova Scotia in their travel experiences."

If you require any further information please let me know.

Douglas M. Matthews
Manager Quality Assurance
Tourism Division
Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage

The Nova Scotia Government, however, continues to promote the use of public and licensed private campgrounds as the proper place for RVers to stay. The following is contained in the 2010 issue of " Doers and Dreamers " (page 30), the comprehensive tourism information guide published by the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage:

" We ask you not to camp or park your camping vehicle overnight in any area that is not a designated campground. (e.g. parking lots, shopping malls and beach areas). Also, please respect our environment by disposing your waste at established dumping stations. "

Further, concern about continuation of the RVer parking ban was recently expressed by Guy Gipson, Publisher of the " Day's End Directory " of the Escapees RV Club (over 32,000 member families in North America). " The Day's End Directory " is a 500 page compendium of low cost and free places for RVers to stay in the United States and Canada, that is available to Escapees members. Mr. Gipson had just received a report, as a warning to be included, in the " Day's End Directory ", about RVers being turned away from parking overnight at the Amherst Visitor Information Centre (on the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), and a No Overnight Parking sign posted at the nearby Wal-Mart. (Note, the Amherst Visitor Information Centre is operated by the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, and would likely still not allow RVers to park overnight as a matter of its policy.)

Referring to the scarcity of entries for Nova Scotia in the " Day's End Directory " Guy Gipson commented:

"If the comparative number of provincial listings in my Day's End Directory is any indicator, Newfoundland has been the winner of this avoid-NS paradigm! Everyone seems to just pass through NS as quickly as possible on the way to the ferry, and they rave about Twillingate and other such spots. "
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With the Provincial Government's policy apparently now allowing RVers to park anywhere that private property owners permit, Nova Scotia is removed from the unique position of being the only provincial or state jurisdiction in Canada and the United States that banned RVers from parking everywhere except public and licensed private campgrounds. Nova Scotia is a wonderful place for RVers to visit. Presently RVers can do so and feel they are truly welcome to be here. Please see the RVers Instant, Real Guide to Nova Scotia , on this website.

Many RVer organizations, including the Escapees RV Club, Family Motor Coach Association, and the WBCCI endorse the following code of conduct for travelling RVers parking overnight in commercial parking lots:

Industry-Sanctioned Code of Conduct (RVers &rsquo Good Neighbor Policy)

1. Stay one night only!

2. Obtain permission from a qualified individual.

3. Obey posted regulations.

4. No awnings, chairs or barbecue grills.

5. Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).

6. Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.

7. Purchase, gas, food or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.

8. Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.

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