HOUSING CRISIS: Peachland man takes next step in fight for right to live in house on wheels
A Peachland man in the midst of a battle with the district bylaw department to remain living in his tiny home on wheels is taking the next step in his mission to get the regulations amended, an online petition.
Ryan King lives a simple and sustainable lifestyle with his wife and pets on an acreage in a tiny home he built seven years ago. For the past three years he’s been receiving fines from the bylaw department for breaking the rules and was told to move off the property or build a permanent dwelling to building codes.
“I designed and built the tiny home to building codes,” he said in a recent interview with iNFOnews.ca. “We live off grid on solar and hydro for power and drilled a well for water. Where we live none of our neighbours can see or hear us. I’m a simple, law-abiding business owner who pays his taxes and lives the simple life.”
Using an RV as a permanent dwelling is against municipal and regional district regulations in Kamloops and the Okanagan. King wants those laws amended “to reflect today’s housing realities.” Earlier this week, he started a petition looking for support.
“This bylaw is not only affecting us but also many others who choose to live sustainably in tiny homes or RVs on their own properties across Peachland and beyond,” his petition read. “It's time we challenge this outdated regulation which does not reflect today's housing realities nor respect individual property rights.”
King isn’t sure yet where he’ll be sending the petition, or how many signatures he can expect to receive. One thing he is clear on is he’s not leaving his property.
“I find the whole thing ridiculous and thought, 'you know what, no, I’m putting my foot down.' I’m not building a house and I’m not going anywhere. It’s a silly bylaw. These kinds of bylaws are getting changed in the states, why can’t it happen here?”
Using RVs as dwellings has been an ongoing point of contention for several years between residents and municipal governments.
“The regulations are there to ensure these dwellings are safe,” Peachland's chief bylaw officer Dan Maja said in a previous interview with iNFOnews.ca. “No one says he (King) can’t live there, we’re asking him to get a building permit and build his home.
“RVs are built for camping and temporary accommodation, they don’t have thick walls and are usually built out of combustible material. It’s better to live in a house and build with permits and inspections so it’s safe and people can respond when you have a proper house address.”
Maja suggested people approach elected officials to ask for changes.
Last month, a couple living on their family acreage in the Agricultural Land Reserve in Vernon won their right to remain living in their RV after 19 months of battling the city.
In the unique case, Vernon city council voted in favour of amending the bylaws around RV dwelling in agricultural zones to align with provincial regulations.
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