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SCRD will wind down use of RVs on Lockyer property

Rural directors voted not to proceed with the second reading and public meeting for an application in Roberts Creek.
SCRD rural directors have decided to "wind down" the non-conforming use of recreational vehicles on a private property in Roberts Creek.

Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) staff have been given the official go-ahead to begin a compliance agreement with the property owner of 1220 Lockyer Road that will "wind down" the non-conforming use of recreational vehicles (RV).

At the May 12 board meeting, rural directors had two options in front of them regarding the application to amend the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan and require a temporary use permit to allow the use of four non-conforming RVs on the property for up to three years. The directors had already adopted a recommendation to move forward with second reading and a public hearing in March, but an April staff report brought forward a new option: to wind down the current use through a compliance agreement, allowing six to 12 months for the tenants to find new accommodations. 

If a compliance agreement cannot be reached between the SCRD and the property owner, or if the agreement is contravened, “ticketing, up to daily, would follow a period of negotiation in good faith,” the April 21 staff report states.

Directors Andreas Tize (Roberts Creek), Donna McMahon (Elphinstone), Mark Hiltz (West Howe Sound) and Leonard Lee (Pender Harbour/Egmont) voted to reconsider the March adoption, effectively abandoning that decision. Halfmoon Bay director Lori Pratt was the only director to vote against reconsideration. 

“I believe that we do need to follow through on a public process that we've already started. There have been some community members who have weighed in and yet not all community members have had the opportunity as they’ve been waiting for the process to follow through,” Pratt said. She added that she understands it’s a complicated issue with risks, “however, at this time, we are still within a housing crisis on the Sunshine Coast.”

The rural directors then voted four to one to adopt staff April recommendation abandoning the amendment bylaw and directing staff to proceed with developing a compliance agreement to wind down the unpermitted uses and pursue land development compliance. If the compliance agreement is reached, there will be a temporary selective enforcement of bylaws allowing the tenants to stay for a short period of time.

Pratt said, “I believe that we should have been moving forward with the with a open public process on this property for various reasons.” 

Director David Croal, standing in for Bill Beamish, was not able to vote on the issue but commented, “It's one thing to make the rules against something, but we're not offering a solution.” 

Tize, the director for the property’s area, said “I do want to reiterate that I'm absolutely not opposed to enabling people to use RVs as long-term accommodation. I'm in favour of removing any roadblocks we have to do that.” He reiterated concerns with the safety of the property and the temporary use permit’s ability to implement change. Tize also said he’d like a “little bit of a separation between the housing issue and what's going on with this particular property. I think there's two issues at play here and my problem is with the approach of this property owner seeking to go about this.

“My heart does go out to those who are affected by this and I do hope that we can find some solutions that work better for everyone and that where health and safety isn't compromised,” Tize said.

Director McMahon said she agreed with Tize, and said the urgency is frustrating but not something the regional district has the tools to deal with. 

“This is really an unfortunate situation and we need help from senior government to come up with some solutions,” McMahon said.