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B.C. Walmart Says No to RVs

October 18, 2011 by · 15 Comments 

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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.

SmartCentres, which owns the Kamloops, British Columbia shopping centre, installed large new signs on the lot reminding customers there is no overnight parking for RVs or trucks. (Credit: bcnews.ca)

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.

Staying in a Walmart parking lot. (Credit: rvonthego.blogspot.com)

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.

Staying in a Walmart parking lot. (Credit: mybirdie.ca)

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.

Worth Pondering…

Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

—Anon

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If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.

Comments

15 Responses to “B.C. Walmart Says No to RVs”
  1. Diane Wilson says:

    We have lost a lot of confidence in Walmart parking lots, and thereby they have lost our business, because we have come across a number of entrances blocked by low barriers preventing entrance by trucks and RV’s. We have gotten off highways to shop only to end up on narrow streets and unable to turn around because of these barriers. What are they thinking when they do this?”

  2. Gary Williams says:

    After looking at the long list of walmarts that do not want rvers to stay overnight, I don’t believe that walmart really wants rvers business. I’ll be happy to oblige. Too bad, my rv has a 150 gallon fuel tank. You can imagine how much I spend at the gas station at walmarts. Their loss.

  3. Grant Thompson says:

    I have pulled into some Walmarts and seen as many as 8 rv’s set up to stay. I feel that this is a shopping center not a campground. I have been camping for over 50 years and have never wanted to stay in a parking lot. Let’s continue to support our campground owners by using there services. Campgrounds are for enjoyment Walmart is for shopping.

  4. Dutch2 says:

    We have seldom used Walmart for overnight stops. It only occasions have been that is was too late to drive on and for safety needed to pull off. We always shopped for needed provisions the next morning and once the supplies were put away we were on our way again.
    Reading the article only put one thing into our minds don’t stop at any Walmart. We will spend our money elsewhere.

  5. Professor95 says:

    The issue of no overnight parking for RV’s is often NOT a decision made by Wal-Mart. In our location (Hanover County, VA) the restriction is due to a county ordinance, not Wal-Mart’s rules. The ordinance applies to ALL business facility parking lots not licensed as a campground or RV service. Ironically, there is no restriction during daylight hours. I often see RV’s parked for extended time during the day, perhaps then traveling at night to avoid traffic and rules like this one.

    The entrance barriers are another issue. At our local Wal-Mart (Mechanicsville) they have huge boulders at the main entrance’s 90 degree turn that just won’t allow RV’s to make the swing. But, there is more than one entrance and you need to find the one the Wal-Mart trucks use. Entering from this route (which is always there) often gives you access to a better parking area anyway – or you can proceed to the 4-wheeler parking area if you wish.

    So – don’t just automatically blame Wal-Mart. It is often not their decision to restrict overnight RV parking, but rather a local ordinance.

  6. Liz Johns says:

    My family & I tried to stay in a parking lot (wasn’t Walmart) in BC, Canada about nine years ago & it was a no go. There were security guards patroling the parking lots. I would have figured that Canada would want tourists and find some place for the rver’s to camp overnight some where. We haven’t been back since.

  7. Ross says:

    You can’t really fault Walmart for the location in this story because it is their landlord that is not allowing the overnight parking.

    I’ve never stopped overnight at a Walmart. I’d rather pay the $25-$30 to use a KOA and have full hook ups for the night. However, I have seen people using a couple of my local Walmarts for their RV’s, and I live in the middle of a large city. In some cases, I’ve seen people with their awnings out and for all intents and purposes looking like they are camping. I’ve also seen people stealing electricity by tapping into lamp posts, and hooking up to water where it is available.

    I bet if you were to ask each Walmart manager why they are banning the practice, you’d hear a lot of stories like that.

  8. B.Smith says:

    To those folks who are out there blaming wall mart are the folks whom are wrong! Believe me there is a huge list of things to blame wall mart for starting with there environmental history, but as for as the parking issue most for the time it is NOT wall mart but the owner of the shopping center who receives MANY complaints about the RVS. Who were NEVER suppose to say anymore than 91) one evening! I am an rv’er and i have used wall mart to spend a night but that is all, The issue is all the people who ABUSE the system like always and then people blame the wrong people! If you go back over time wall mart LOVES RVs rvers as they spend $$$$$$$$ money.So blame the right people when all of you are pointing fingers now and in the future please.

  9. rk911 says:

    if some RVs were overstaying their welcome all the shopping center management needed to do was call the local gendarmes and request the offending vehicles be ticketed and/or towed for trespassing. i guess it’s easier to paint with the broad brush.

  10. Darryl B. says:

    I notice that this article discusses the RVer’s ‘right’ to park on a private business parking lot. I did not know we had the right to do this. I thought it was a PRIVILEGE that you may get by asking the store manager, and as long as it is within the law. As others have stated, it is often not up to the local manager, it is regulated by city/county ordinances.

  11. KayMillie says:

    Seems to me that there are plenty of small family businesses out there who pay taxes, utilities, & maintenance to run a campground. Why would you park at a Walmart when a small business is trying to make a living just a few miles down the road. We notice that it is usually pretty nice motorhomes spending overnights free of charge at Walmart. On one trip we were having the discussion with a campground owner and his town had put a stop to the Walmart camping. Why? Because people had been observed dumpling BLACK water on the ground. ’nuff said.

  12. Steve Crump says:

    Having just returned from an Alaska trip, I have learned that Walmart does not allow overnight parking.
    However, The food chain ” Fred Meyer ” does allow it. Forget Walmart in Canada and go to Fred Meyer.
    Also, in Anchorage AK, neither Walmart or Fred Meyer allow overnight parking. The RV parks have pressured these stores so that they do not allow parking. Instead go to any State campground ( low rates) or any RV park

  13. hpcop says:

    I think your code of conduct for parking at Walmarts should include parking on the very outskirts of the lot. I’ve seen too many RV’ers that are taking up space where cars would normally park.

  14. Dave Jeffries says:

    In defense if one walmart who’s manager now says “NO”, …..
    He’s had small trees killed by slides – several times, parking lots holed repeated times by hydraulic jacks on motorhomes ($1500 repair bill per hole), grey and black water dumped requiring very expensive clean-ups in the case of the black, a large landscaping rock moved into a driving lane so that an RVer could run his slide out (causing an injury accident that Walmart had to pay big bucks for for when another customer ran unto the rock out in the driving lane) as well as repeated customer complaints regarding room to park being taken up by RVs.

    Allowing us in the lots was costing him more than we were spending, so Rapid City SD is now NOP.

    After talking with him at length, I guess i can’t blame him.

    Dave J
    =====================

  15. I think Walmart could make some good money if they had people pay for RV spots. Chances are, the RVers would even buy a bunch of stuff from Walmart.

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