They are usually known as a welcoming sight for RV campers 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, according to a report by bclocalnews.com, anyone hoping to stay in the Kamloops, British Columbia, Walmart parking lot for an extended period of time can expect to be turned away.
This past summer the company SmartCentres, which owns the shopping center, installed large new signs on the lot reminding customers there is no overnight parking for RVs or trucks.
Sandra Kaiser, vice president of corporate affairs for SmartCentres, said 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 centre.
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.
The Kamloops location wouldn’t be alone in banning overnight stays, as a growing number of Walmarts in the U.S. are starting to turn away RVs and campers. Kaiser said the signs and rules are permanent.