Filed under: Campgrounds & RV Parks
B.C. Walmart Says No to RVs
They are usually known as a welcoming sight for RVers in need of a place to stop for the night or a few days before continuing on with their journey.
Besides being a big-box retail store, Walmart parking lots across North America have generally been hospitable to the traveling camper.
But, anyone hoping to stay in the Kamloops, British Columbia, Walmart parking lot for an extended period of time can expect to be turned away, reports Kamloops This Week.
This past summer the company SmartCentres, which owns the shopping center, installed large new signs on the lot reminding customers that overnight parking for RVs or trucks is not permitted.
Sandra Kaiser, vice-president of corporate affairs for SmartCentres, told KTW the no-overnight rules were always in place, but not enforced stringently until recently.
She said the measure is not meant to crack down on someone staying a few hours or even a night, but is intended to address RV owners staying for days and weeks.
“More and more campers were coming and staying for longer periods of time, to the point where we were losing parking spaces that we have to provide to our tenants,” Kaiser said, adding the company had received complaints from tenants in the shopping center.
She noted overnight stays made it difficult for maintenance crews to clean up the lot.
Kaiser said maintenance crews are politely reminding campers they can’t park in the lot long term.
Walmart manager Tim Labermeyer said he’s heard from some customers who expected to park at the store overnight.
However, he pointed out many of the Walmart lots that allow overnight parking are owned by the retail giant.
The Kamloops Walmart leases the property so, in this case, it is not a decision made by the store.
“We have to abide by their (SmartCentres) rules,” Labermeyer said.
He suggested Thompson Rivers University students using the lot during store hours for free parking was a bigger issue than RV parking.
The Kamloops location isn’t alone in banning overnight stays, as a growing number of Walmarts in the U.S. are starting to turn away RVs.
For a list of Walmarts where overnight parking is prohibited, click here.
Ask the local IGA store in Hinton, Alberta, how to treat visitors. That IGA invites RVers to camp overnight free on their parking lot and places large signs along the highway to make sure RVers know they are welcome.
Overnight Parking Etiquette
Some of the most respected RV consumer clubs have joined together to support your right to park on private businesses’ parking lots overnight under the following code of conduct. The code pertains to establishments that permit “dry camping” on their lots. Dry camping means camping without the use of external hookups for electricity, water supply, or waste disposal.
Industry-Sanctioned Code of Conduct (RVers’ Good Neighbor Policy)
Stay one night only!
Obtain permission from a qualified individual.
Obey posted regulations.
No awnings, chairs, or barbecue grills outside your RV.
Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).
Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.
Purchase gas, food, or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.
Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.
If your plans include touring the area, staying for more than one night, or necessitate conduct not within the code, please relocate to a local campground. It’s the right thing to do!
Most of the complaints lodged regarding RV parking on business parking lots have to do with aesthetics and perceived abuse of the privilege. There are a variety of competing interests that were balanced to arrive at this industry-sanctioned code of conduct. As you can see, this Code of Conduct is nothing more than an RVers’ “Good Neighbor” policy.
Not following the code has serious consequences and is detrimental to the rights of all RVers. Already, some municipalities have passed ordinances to prohibit parking on private business property overnight.
The above Code of Conduct is also available in PDF format from the Walmart Atlas website.
You’re encouraged to print this letter and share it with others to promote these etiquette standards.
Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.
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