A group of protestors in September 2019 came out to support Angie and Duane Smith who were being evicted from their own property by the TNRD for living in an RV just outside of Barriere. (Jamie Polmateer - Black Press Media).

RV habitation once again a discussion topic for TNRD

“I don’t imagine for a moment that we’ve heard the last of the RV issue”

The Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) was once again debating people living in RVs, this time involving a complaint in 70 Mile House, at their regular meeting on May 14.

The issue was previously discussed following pushback on the RV bylaw in the second half of 2019.

In the case in question, the TNRD received a complaint about illegal occupation on private property.

Upon notice from the TNRD, the property owner acknowledged a friend was sleeping in the RV brought about by pending homelessness after being unable to find affordable housing in his price bracket, noting it was a “friendship agreement” in order to make sure the occupant wasn’t part of the homeless problem.

Three solutions presented by the TNRD to the property owner, Catharine McMahon, were the occupant moving out, moving into the home on the property (with the property owner) or apply for a Temporary Use Permit, adjudicated by the Board of Directors, to enable the RV to be used as a dwelling for up to three years.

McMahon, in a letter, reiterated that, due to financial difficulties, the occupant moving elsewhere is not an option. Having the occupant move into the house, would require work to fix up the house, the letter notes. As for a Temporary Use Permit, the letter notes there’s a $1,500 fee attached. The letter further adds that there’s no bathroom facility in the RV so environmental safety “is not a concern in this situation.”

“I have no intention of kicking my friend out of the only home he has, I cannot currently afford to remodel my home to make space for him to move into and I have no ability to waste $1,500 on a TUP so that you can turn it down, if I had $1,500 I would start to fix up my house. At this time when we are asked to stay home and physical distance from people outside of our circle, I feel it would be the worst possible time to move forward on any action. “

Area P director Mel Rothenburger said that it didn’t seem reasonable to suggest the RV occupant move in with the property owner at a time where people are advised to stay apart. He asked if it would be possible to delay any enforcement.

Chair Kenneth Gillis replied that there’s no appetite to make deferral an official position adding that, at the moment, there are no plans to send anyone with badges and guns out to enforce the bylaw immediately.

“It might be a good time to let sleeping dogs lie but I doubt very much that staff would be keen on having an official hands-off policy.”

Area E director Sally Watson (incl. 70 Mile) said that the fee for the Temporary Use Permit, which would permit the RV to be used as a dwelling for up to three years, was part of the issue.

“The TUP application would cost $1,500 with no guarantee of approval. These people are on very, very tight fixed incomes.”

In total, the TNRD has received four Temporary Use Permit applications and all have been approved according to Development Services Director Regina Sadilkova.

There’s currently no avenue in the bylaw to allow for the reduction or waiving of the fee on a case by case basis (though there were some concessions for victims of the wildfires), she said, adding there’s no grant in aid program.

“I am aware of a few cases in the history of the TNRD where an EA director has used their discretionary fund to pay for an application but in that case, I would say there is a possibility fo a conflict. For example, if a director was friends with other folks and wanted to help a group or an individual, I would think that they’d have to excuse themselves from the deliberation.”

Of the $1,500 fee, $1,200 is paid to a newspaper for an ad so there is no cost recovery and it’s already highly subsidized as it is, says Sadilkova.

Some other jurisdictions that do operate on a cost-recovery basis charge as much as $25,000, she says.

Development Services Director Regina Sadilkova noted they’ve been receiving more complaints about people living in RVs since the start of COVID-19 adding that the people they received complaints about had been living in their RVs for a year or more.

Barriere Mayor Ward Stamer said they have broader issues to discuss with respect to RVs suggesting that staff proceed with what’s on the books currently, knowing that they’re probably not going to enforce it.

“I’d like to be able to suggest that we have another opportunity to be able to discuss all these kinds of implications.”

Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine went along with Stamer that adding that they should look at some sort of hardship exception if the fee is the issue that’s getting in the way with some tight rules.

The board voted for staff to continue to follow board policy which means staff will go forward with negotiating compliance, according to Sadilkova. Rothenburger and Watson voted against it as did Area A director Carol Schaffer, Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell, Area I director Steven Rice and Clinton Mayor Susan Swan.

Gillis added that it leaves the door to enforcement open.

“I don’t imagine for a moment that we’ve heard the last of the RV issue no matter what we decide with respect to this recommendation.”


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Thompson Nicola Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New opportunity for youth to help build a sustainable future

Youth across B.C. are being invited to apply before July 12 for this exciting program

Housing Needs Report accepted by District of Barriere Council

On May 6, 2019 Council supported an application to UBCM for funding… Continue reading

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

Don Bowser: Retires from the same school he graduated from 41 years later

Students are now out of school for summer vacation, and even though… Continue reading

Teamsters parade the big guys through Barriere

Every year when the annual North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo takes… Continue reading

Study suggests 8 times more people in B.C. infected with virus than confirmed

The study looked at anonymous blood samples collected for reasons unrelated to COVID-19

‘We’re not busting ghosts’: Northern B.C. paranormal investigators check out bistro

Paranormal North Coast British Columbia recently checked out PF Bistro at City Centre Mall.

Russian hackers seeking to steal COVID-19 vaccine data: intel agencies

It is believed APT29, also known as ‘the Dukes’ or ‘Cozy Bear’ was responsible

Twitter racing to unravel mystery cyberattack

Some of the world’s most prominent names had their Twitter accounts post invitations for an apparent Bitcoin scam

B.C. announces funding to support post-secondary students with disabilities

The province is investing $275,000 in the new BCcampus website

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Northern Indigenous cannabis cultivation facility to supply over 60 private B.C. stores

Construction to soon resume on Nations Cannabis in Burns Lake

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Most Read