Some Albertans who bought into the lakefront RV resort Paradise Shores are finding themselves out thousands of dollars and without a place to camp.
Albetans like Chris, who is from Edmonton and bought two lots at $35,000 each. He asked Global News not to use his last name because he feels the conflict over the controversial project has put his family’s safety at risk.
“I put approximately $70,000 into making this happen,” Chris said.
He told Global News he bought the lots because the resort’s location, near Stettler and Buffalo Lake, was perfect — a halfway point between Calgary and Edmonton. He was also excited about the family atmosphere the resort promised.
“The way it was set up for kids, the water park, a lot of special amenities for kids.”
But the project has been plagued by problems almost from the start.
The developer, Paradise Shores RV Resort, originally applied to Stettler County for a 1,000-lot development. The county agreed to 750 sites.
But a number of nearby municipalities and area residents opposed to the development appealed that number and a Subdivision and Development Appeal Board further cut the site number down to 168.
The SDAB decision cited concerns ranging from density to environmental, as well as health and safety issues.
“This is certainly a very frustrating situation for everybody involved,” Stettler County planner Cara McKenzie said.
“The county is bound by that decision, whether we’re for it or against it,” she added. “There’s really no one to blame in particular.”
But some do blame the county, including the developer.
Paradise Shores told Global News it followed all the rules, only to be met by roadblocks.
Its legal team also sent a statement adding: “Paradise Shores is concerned of the impact that a very small but vocal number of very wealthy members of neighbouring communities has had on the lives of hard-working, regular Albertan families.”
Global News asked Paradise Shores why it would lease out lots when there could be an appeal and was told it’s common practice and once a lease is signed, the money can be requested.
In the meantime, the County of Stettler has issued a stop-work order because it said some of the conditions set out in the SDAB decision have not been met by the developer.
Paradise Shores said some of those conditions aren’t applicable to it because there was never a development permit issued.
As for the campers, they’ve been told they have to pack up and get out.
And their money is now in limbo — just like the development.
“I think it’s just unfair as to the way people are being treated,” Chris said.