After 45 years of lobbying the provincial government to crack down on illegal camping in Nova Scotia, Canada, the camping industry is now receiving help from a company that has long benefited from the practice – Wal-Mart.
According to the Chronicle Herald, Halifax, the retailer has begun posting signs in parking lots informing RV owners about a provincial law that prohibits the practice and asking them not to park overnight, says Leanne Hachey of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
Wal-Mart Canada contacted the advocacy group last year to say it recognized such camping was an issue and wanted to work with the federation to come up with a solution, Hachey says.
“One thing we want to make sure of is that we’re in compliance with the law,” Yanik Deschenes, a company spokesman, said Wednesday (July 19).
While the company’s American counterpart views RV owners as a lucrative market and actively pursues their business by promoting overnight parking in their lots, Wal-Mart Canada is more concerned about being a good a corporate citizen than about losing revenue, Deschenes said.
“For us it’s more important to be the store of the community (and) working with the community than just implementing an (American) initiative in Canada,” he said.
With more than 73,000 RVs visiting Nova Scotia last year alone, RV owners contribute significantly to the province’s tourism sector.
The president of the Campground Owners Association of Nova Scotia says she considers Wal-Mart’s decision a “wonderful first step” in helping to address the long-standing issue.
“That’s industry working with industry, isn’t it, and that’s great,” said Alexis MacDonald. “I think that’s the way businesses should operate. Industries should be supporting the regulations as well as the government.”
But she emphasized that Wal-Mart’s move is just a first step because people are setting up camp in other mall and retail store parking lots, as well as churches and other places where the property owners may not even realize this is happening.
She said such camping poses environmental and safety concerns and negatively affects Nova Scotia business by taking revenue away from licensed campground operators.