Why this regional district is stepping up enforcement on RV-dwellers - InfoNews

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Why this regional district is stepping up enforcement on RV-dwellers

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District estimates there are approximately 100 recreational vehicles permanently parked on rural properties throughout the region.
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August 14, 2019 - 3:00 PM

KAMLOOPS — In the 50 years the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has existed, using a recreational vehicle as a permanent home has never been permitted.

But recently, the region has been receiving a growing number of complaints surrounding this very issue, according to Regina Sadilkova, the district’s director of development services.

“I would assume that over our 10 electoral areas and 45,000-square kilometres there is at least 10 (recreational vehicles) in every electoral area and that’s not counting the folks who just come out and use them seasonally,” she says. “That is people living in them all the time and through the winter.”

Sadilkova describes the number of complaints they have been receiving as a “slow cooker” gradual increase over the years. And more complaints means more action. 

“So this is something that has never been allowed here,” she says. “A house is a building and an RV is a motor vehicle.”

She attributes the reason many people may be using RVs as homes may be because its cheaper than buying a house in some cases. Or in some areas there is no available housing for individuals working in remote areas.

“As more and more older RVs are on sale for less money I think for some folks it is appealing that you can buy something for less than what it takes to build a building and just park it permanently,” she says. “It may not be road worthy to travel with or maybe a gas guzzler.”

However, there are several concerns that can arise from RVs being used as permanent homes.

“We typically get more complaints where somebody sees an RV next door to them and it has not moved for a long time and they are wondering what’s happening with all the sewage and they are on ground water wells,” she says. “So there is an environmental concern.”

Sadilkova says they also receive complaints from people who are trying to sell their property.

“It’s harder to sell your property for what it is worth if you’re surrounded by RVs that look like they are not going to move anytime soon,” she says.

And it’s not just something that is affecting the Thompson-Nicola, she says.

“It is not only the TNRD, the more urbanized regional districts like the Central-Okanagan, they are quite concentrated and quite populous,” she says. “I know the Fraser Valley is dealing with it as people maybe can’t afford a house but they can sure afford a huge RV and they travel the valley out of Metro-Vancouver and live on Crown or private land.”

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is trying to educate those who are currently living in RVs of the bylaws and regulations in place.

“We always work with education first and then we proceed to order letters and then we proceed with ticketing so you can get a ticket from anywhere from $150 to $250 and then if we still don’t succeed then we end up filing an injunction through the court,” she says.

For people on Crown land, the district calls the province to enforce regulations as the region has no authority to enforce laws.


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