Brian Callahoo says he is often a little bewildered when media reports talk about full RV parks in winter as if it were a social problem, according to the Daily Herald Tribune, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.
As he plans to spend his fifth winter in his travel trailer at the Country Roads RV Park, the Edmonton resident and safety consultant for the oil and gas industry feels year-round camping is far from a crisis living situation.
“There’s this concept that if it’s an RV and you’re living in it during the wintertime, you’re out there freezing to death,” he said.
“I don’t look at it as hardship. There are some who are, but if you look at the general units that are sitting out here in the park, there’s some pretty nice units.”
In fact, a quick scan of the Country Roads RV park shows that for every 20-year-old holiday trailer that likely will leave the park by the end of October because it is not winterized, there are luxury trailers and mobile homes outfitted with satellite dishes and hitched to $50,000 pickup trucks.
Callahoo’s own trailer has a separate bedroom, full kitchen and living area. It’s heated with a propane furnace fueled by a large tank and also has double-paned windows and a vinyl skirt around its bottom for insulation. Along with that are such creature comforts as satellite TV, wireless phone and Internet. Callahoo says his RV is “better than a hotel room.
“Even five or six years ago, a hotel room in Grande Prairie would cost you a couple grand a month, so really you’re throwing that money away. You’re getting a place to stay but it’s quite expensive,” he said.
“I don’t know how much a hotel room is in Grande Prairie now, but let’s say it’s maybe $100 a night. So if you were up here for 30 days, that’s $3,000. You stay here (in the RV park) and your monthly rent is $560 and whatever costs for power and heat, and so you spend a $1,000 a month. That’s $2,000 in your pocket every month.”
Certainly, Callahoo has the income from his work as a safety consultant to pay the rent for a condo or even a buy a house in Grande Prairie, but says there’s no point in following either scenario, especially when his job, like many in the oilfield, has schedules and locations that can change from day to day.
“I could buy a home but the problem is I could get a call tomorrow and be asked to be in Fort St. John or I might have to be in Hinton or Grande Cache,” he said.
“Most people here (in the RV park) are not looking to be permanent residents in Grande Prairie,” he said.
“They are looking at short-term jobs and it’s gotten busier and they stayed longer than planned. I’m sure if somebody talked to everyone in the park here, about 95 per cent of them are just working away from home and to them it’s just like staying in a hotel.”