The British Columbia Rural Rights Association (BCRRA), formerly the Thompson Nicola R.V. Rights group, is keeping the ball rolling in its fight against what group members say are unfair R.V. bylaws enacted by the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD).
Members from the group attended a meeting with the TNRD in Kamloops on Sept. 19 where directors Carol Schaffer, Area A, and Sally Watson, Area E, presented findings from a previous gathering held by the BCRRA in Clearwater the week before.
Spokesperson for the BCRRA, Tom Coles, who was at the meeting in Kamloops, said a request was then made for the rural rights group to make a presentation at a future TNRD meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 17.
“Our group gets to address the board to discuss these issues,” said Coles.
“The one thing I came away with is there seems to be a dichotomy between what the board understands and what the director of planning services understands with regards to the interpretation of bylaws and as a result of that, of course, is the implementation of enforcing the bylaws.
“The way the bylaw is worded, essentially, is while not included within bylaw 2400, it is the policy of the TNRD that anything not explicitly permitted in the zoning is explicitly prohibited, which is rather quite vague and leaves a lot of grey areas.”
Coles added it seems to him the TNRD directors interpret the wording as the opposite — if anything is not explicitly prohibited, it’s permitted.
The TNRD also reiterated that the bylaws are complaint-driven and people aren’t being evicted from their properties for living in R.V.s, although recent events, like the case with Barriere couple Duane and Angie Smith who were told they had to cease occupancy of their R.V. and remove the vehicle from their property, would indicate otherwise.
“The bylaw officer doesn’t seem to have gotten that message,” said Coles.
“It would seem there’s some discrepancy happening between the department of planning services, which includes bylaws, and the rest of the board, but they are at least willing to move forward and get some resolution to this.”
Members of the BCRRA are cautiously optimistic the issues will get resolved and are looking forward to presenting their points of view at the Oct. 17 meeting.
R.V. bylaws aside, the group plans to continue and is making moves to become more organized, even throwing around the idea of becoming a non-profit organization, so it can tackle other issues facing rural residents in the future.
The group has already changed its name and has developed an official logo that depicts an outhouse in a wooded area with mountains in the background as a tongue in cheek way to illustrate rural living.
“We are just waiting for this meeting to be over and to tie up a few loose ends before a proper transition into that B.C. Rural Rights Association, but we have everything in place and we’re in the process of getting membership cards printed and whatnot,” said Coles.
“We do have a statement of purpose, so once we have all these things in place, we’ll call for another meeting in which we’d introduce the committee and the newly named group, then have a membership drive as well, after which we’d have to have elections of officers and such.”