The tent city that has sprung up at the Yukon legislature is stealing local campground customers.
“We’ve seen a huge drop-off in business,” said Amanda Stehelin who, along with her husband Bernard, has been running the Robert Service Campground for almost two decades.
“We’re not employing as many people, that’s how significant it is,” she said.
People started pitching tents on the lawn of the Yukon legislature a little more than a month ago to protest the lack of affordable housing in the city.
While the Stehelins support people’s right to protest, they suspect that many campers on the lawn of the legislature are simply taking advantage of the free camping.
In the parking lot near the tent city there are cars with licence plates from all across North America.
Some of them could be protesters, but some are likely tourists, she said.
“It’s too bad because it’s taking away from the issues of the legitimate protesters,” said Stehelin.
Robert Service Campground caters to both tourists and people that are in Whitehorse working for the summer.
In the last few years, as the housing market has become more competitive, the Stehelins have seen an increase in the demand for long-term stays
Six of their campsites are set aside for more permanent campers.
But with such a short season, there is only a small window of opportunity for the campground to turn a profit.
“We put a ton of heart and soul and money into the campground,” said Stehelin. “It’s frustrating when something like this has such a large impact on us.”
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