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By Laura Keil

The Village of Valemount has agreed to allow RVs and portable buildings as residences for up to four years per residence, via temporary use permits issued by the Village.

The move comes amid a spike in people using recreational vehicles as residences on village lots.

“This (report) is largely in response to the shortage of housing options and increase in individuals and families living and/or working in the community,” reads a report by Village staff to Council.

The report says an influx of people moving to Valemount combined with a large number of pipeline workers staying in the community has resulted in few to no rentals for the long or short term.

“Campgrounds and hotels are at capacity and workers have resorted to living in RVs in residents’ driveways or yards.”
Council approved a policy for approving Temporary Use Permits for RVs and portable buildings to be used as homes on existing lots in the RR1, R1 and R2 zones. RVs and portable residences will not be allowed in commercial zones. The policy also gives criteria for temporary homes on vacant lots while a home is under construction.

Village of Valemount CAO Wayne Robinson says the policy will help regulate what is already taking place.

“We want to make sure that we’re being sensitive to the needs of the people in the community. But at the same time, we need to set some criteria and boundaries on where we would consider an application and where we would not be able to consider an application.”

The report says having a policy in place will help ensure that any temporary structure meets a standard for the provision of water, sewer, garbage collection, and electricity.

The Temporary Use Permit procedure includes notifying neighbours and a public hearing. The cost to apply is $650. The Village won’t be charging additional fees for utilities.

Robinson said they considered the idea of charging for utilities, but after discussions among staff, they figured the cost to set up a new utility billing system would outweigh the fees collected.

The report notes there will be additional staff time required by bylaw enforcement to identify temporary structures being used as residences and ensure temporary residences have the appropriate permits.

Applications can be approved for an initial timeline of one year at which time the applicant may re-apply for up to three consecutive years. If the application is approved on a vacant lot with a building permit on file, a six‐month extension can be granted by staff if construction has begun but is not complete. One temporary structure will be permitted per lot. Without a temporary use permit, RV’s/Temporary Structures are not permitted for short‐ or long‐term use within any zone in the village.