Following public pushback, the Thompson Nicola Regional District will review its policies around people living in RVs.
Despite possible changes to the rules, however, lawsuits already in the works by the regional district will continue.
“If they raised the speeding limit on the Coquihalla to 120, does that mean all the people who got a ticket 10 years ago don’t have to pay?” TNRD development director Regina Sadilkova asked, reinforcing changes at this point are speculative and the fact that those living in RVs are currently contravening regional district zoning.
The board approved last week at its regular meeting policy review that could pave way for people to live in recreational vehicles in the region — either in certain zoned areas (yet to be determined) or on a case-by-case basis, via a temporary-use permit.
It is a step toward loosening the rules. At this time, living in an RV is prohibited in the regional district.
About 100 RVs are permanently parked on rural property, primarily on lakes, in the region, due to high fuel and housing prices and aging larger RVs being used on rural property as homes.
TNRD bylaw files have increased in recent years, with five in 2014 and 20 in 2017.
In the past six years, the regional district has pursued legal action eight times. In a recent notice of civil claim filed on Oct. 29 against Patrick James Mackenzie, Joyce Enns, David Poirier, Lynn George and Richard March, the TNRD alleges use of one or more recreational vehicles as dwelling units, construction of an accessory building and storage of vehicles, boats, equipment and trailers on land on Skimikin Road in Tappen.
The property in question is zoned for agricultural or forestry uses but is being run like a long-term campground, the TNRD has alleged.
Sadilkova said between three and six campers are living on the land at any given time. “We don’t get complaints about people living in campgrounds,” she noted.
The district put residents on notice of enforcement planned around the issue of people living in RVs — with concerns over improper septic services, lost taxation, 911 service, access to safe drinking water, decreased value of neighbouring properties and safety, due to carbon monoxide and electrical risks — but it heard overwhelmingly from the public a call for changes to instead allow RVs as homes.
A survey on the matter received more than 1,300 responses.
The TNRD will consult with people living in RVs and take the issue back for further discussion at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting, which will be held in December.