Dallas Road camper Jasper Sunshine started his own petition after residents in the area asked for more bylaw enforcement. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Dallas Road campers defend ‘van life’ with response petition

Victoria van and RV dwellers say they choose a legal, viable lifestyle

Van and RV-dwellers parked along Dallas Road have started a petition of their own in response to recent backlash from homeowners and renters in the area.

“Whether you are choosing to live in a van or it’s a last resort, it should not be illegal,” writes author Jasper Sunshine, who says the petition is about voicing their “right to live an alternate lifestyle.”

Sunshine’s appeal for support follows an online movement with the opposite mission – Dallas Road resident Janice Williams’s petition to “limit abuse of Dallas Road parking” garnered more than 600 signatures since it was created last week.

READ ALSO: Dallas Road is not an RV park: Residents fed up with overnight parking

Williams told Black Press Media she has been living along the busy oceanfront road for 11 years and has, more recently, seen it deteriorate – something she chalked up to overnight and long-term campers, who live on the road despite the lack of proper facilities or waste management. Williams listed waste and security among her concerns.

But those who choose the “van life” – a popular hashtag on social media – are standing behind their right to live on wheels.

While Sunshine himself lives in a renovated cube van for affordability, he says many in the community choose it in order to live a downsized, transient lifestyle.

“You get to travel and experience a lot and it’s a great community,” Sunshine said. “Why stay home and watch TV when you can travel the world?”

Sunshine says he is avoiding Dallas Road for the time being, but has received many words of support from community members.

Living in a van isn’t illegal – but the City of Victoria has bylaws that limit overnighting in certain areas. The City has said it will introduce “limited restricted parking” on Dallas Road and enhance education and enforcement of overnight parking bylaws.

READ ALSO: B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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