Canmore wants long-term parking-lot campers to hit the road

One long-term camper believes the parking restrictions mean a lot of people will leave

New parking restrictions in Canmore may push long-term campers out of the area. THE CANADIAN PRESS

CANMORE, Alta. — A scenic community in the Alberta Rockies is toughening its parking restrictions for people who have taken up semi-permanent residency in their vehicles.

Town council in Canmore, west of Calgary, recently voted to introduce a no-parking zone between the hours of 7 p.m. and 9 a.m., which would force those staying overnight in their vehicles to vacate.

Mayor John Borrowman says council originally opened an area known for overnight parking as a way to accommodate tourists, but as many as 100 people have set up in the lots.

He says some people have been creating campsites with all sorts of amenities.

The new bylaw is expected to be in place by the end of the month.

The town is also hiring an outreach worker to speak with campers and try to help them find a solution to their accommodation problem.

A number of the long-stay campers work in the local service industry and get paid minimum wage.

Canmore is believed to have the highest rents in Alberta, with an average one-bedroom apartment going for about $1,000 a month, not including utilities.

Brandon Wenkoff, one of the long-term campers, said he thinks the parking restrictions mean a lot of people will leave.

“If you really wanted to stay, you could, but because of the added stress a lot of people are going to move on, which is probably the intention in the first place,” he said.

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