EDITORIAL – Quite the attraction

by Jeff Burgar
So, what is going to happen in Joussard?

This was the first thought of a few people, but only a few, when they heard about what happened to some cabins in Faust a few weeks ago.

Big Lakes County turned down an application to change zoning in Faust. The change would have allowed three nice log cabins to locate on a large lot on Main Street facing Lesser Slave Lake. Eventually, possibly more! Maybe some campers!

For those not aware of the Faust community, there are four main campsites in Faust – campsites meaning places to park your RV, often with full power, water and sewer hookups. In Faust, three are well-developed with one expanding. A fourth is under construction and might be ready to go this summer.

But no more in central Faust! If we understand correctly, Big Lakes County doesn’t want another Joussard in Faust. The whole community of Faust is about where Joussard was 10 years ago. Like Joussard, Faust is clean. There are many well-manicured lawns and many good-looking homes. In the campgrounds, many RV owners leave their units year-round. That will likely increase with the new one under construction right on Lesser Slave Lake and the other lake front one expanding.

For anybody who has not been to either of these hamlets in a few years, it’s worth the drive. From Joussard’s South Shore to Red Sky in the west to White Sands, Shadow Creek [now Alberta’s largest marina] to Key Cove in the east, the growth is astounding. Faust is coming along right behind it.

Growth is so astounding in fact, it’s easy to look at Joussard and ask, “What the heck is going on here?”

Although there might be clear zoning guidelines in Joussard, the fact is, trailers and RVs keep popping up helter-skelter. It’s been that way for years now. It is quite the political hot potato.

Some property owners make extra money renting out space for units. Others like the idea of parking four or five of their friends and relatives in RV units on their lot. Many are jointly-owned.

Many residents aren’t too keen on the show!

What started as a nice little boost to local tourism is now sort of the Wild West of camping. If there is another community around like Joussard in Western Canada, it is an absolute oddity. We can’t think of one where much of the main community is taken over by RV units.

Is it acceptable? Well, it has been so far. In the end, it probably all boils down to which has more land value – a campground or a residential lot.

One Big Lakes councillor remarked a few weeks ago at the rezoning meeting, “I wouldn’t want to live next to a campground.”

Yet, he and his compadres on council voted to allow Joussard to happen over the years.

What does the future hold? In Faust, the line is being held. In Joussard, it will all depend on politics and land values. When people decide, and vote, for whatever they think will make them the most money in the long run, that’s the way it will go. That “long run” may take decades. Many decades!

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