People living illegally in RVs in rural areas of the Valley is on the increase as affordable housing crisis continues. (File photo)

People living illegally in RVs in rural areas of the Valley is on the increase as affordable housing crisis continues. (File photo)

Complaints spike about people illegally living in RVs in rural Cowichan areas

Affordable housing crisis cited as the cause at Cowichan Valley Regional District meeting

The increasing number of complaints in 2021 about people living in recreational vehicles in undesignated rural areas in the Cowichan Valley Regional District is raising concerns.

At the CVRD’s electoral areas services committee meeting on Feb. 2, a year-end staff report on bylaw enforcement in the district’s nine electoral areas indicated that of the 62 zoning complaints received in 2021, the majority were about people illegally living in RVs.

But Ian Morrison, director for Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls, said he thinks the number of complaints the district received in 2021 is just a fraction of the actual number of people living in RVs in the electoral areas outside locations where they are allowed.

RELATED STORY: RULES AGAINST RV LIVING HARD ON ISLAND RESIDENTS CAUGHT IN HOUSING CRUNCH

“In social media, I’m seeing lots of adds not only for people encouraging folks to park their RVs on their property and pay a pad-rental fee, but also people putting adds in looking for those opportunities,” he said.

“We’re having an affordable housing crisis and I think it’s getting worse.”

Rob Harris, a bylaw enforcement officer in the CVRD who wrote the report, acknowledged that the district is only aware of the cases that have been reported to bylaw enforcement.

“It’s a complaint-driven system and that’s what we’ve captured as far as our investigations go,” he said.

“But people living in RVs is on the increase, that’s for sure.”

As for other zoning complaints, Harris said the CVRD’s zoning regulations are extensive and the nature of the calls are wide ranging, including non-permitted suites, structure setbacks and non-conforming home-based business activities.

RELATED STORY: CVRD REPORTS CONTAMINATION IN RECYCLABLES WELL ABOVE ACCEPTABLE LEVELS

RELATED STORY: CVRD ASKING RESIDENTS TO REDUCE SMOKE POLLUTION



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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