The Haida Gwaii Glamping Company made a compelling pitch in Tlell last week, and they didn’t even need a tent.
Co-owner Alana Husby plans to open a “glamorous camping” resort in Tlell this spring. A first for Haida Gwaii, the resort would be open from April to October, featuring 10 large canvas tents on raised wooden platforms, plus an 800 square-foot “social dome” with a shared kitchen and meeting space.
But before it could go ahead, Haida Gwaii Glamping Co. needed to rezone the six-acre property at 40175 Highway 16 from agriculture/forestry to tourist accommodation.
Given the support of several neighbouring Tlellians, the newly elected directors of the North Coast Regional District approved the zoning change on Nov. 16.
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April Dutheil, owner of Tlell’s Crystal Cabin gallery and gift shop, was one of several local residents who wrote or spoke up in support of the idea at a public hearing on Nov. 14.
Having a “new, non-competing business model will benefit Tlell and the island-wide economy,” Dutheil wrote, noting that the Haida House at Tllal brought similar benefits when it started up seven years ago. Dutheil also said she was glad to welcome another female business owner with Haida Gwaii roots.
Fellow Tlellian Berry Wijdeven also wrote in support of the resort, noting that the zoning change likely prevented more tree-clearing along the East Beach shoreline.
“Since the coastal strip along the East Coast is super important for saw-whet owls, I’m excited that the rezoned property will remain treed, providing habitat for the little critters,” he wrote.
Some speakers at the hearing raised concerns about how people will access the resort road from Highway 16. Kris Leach noted that someone recently drove off the highway and onto the property, and recommended a lower speed limit. Dan Abbott suggested changing the location of the access road for safety reasons.
Brad Elenko, a professional planner representing Haida Gwaii Glamping, said a review of possible road access locations showed the current one provides the best line of sight up and down the highway.