by Tristan Turner, with files from Lucie Roy
A unanimous vote on a new community standards Bylaw means that residents will be allowed to park their RVs on their property year-round, provided it meets new requirements. Community Standards Bylaw 13/2017 introduces changes to landscaping requirements, unsightly properties, Recreational Vehicles (RVs) and other changes.
The Bylaw defines RVs as a vehicle, trailer, watercraft, or off-road vehicle that is utilized for recreational or work purposes. Specifically, they mention motor homes, tent trailers, campers and other vehicles, but the interpretation of what particularly is and is not an RV is open to interpretation by Peace Officers. These definitions are utilized in the enforcement of the bylaw, which includes new restrictions, including limiting the amount of parking allocation afforded to RVs on a property, parking RVs in yards or corner sites, and requiring that RVs must be one metre from the sidewalk. Previously there were restrictions that limited residents from keeping RVs on their property year-round, but those restrictions are removed entirely in the revised bylaw.
Mayor Barry Turner was supportive of the changes saying, “We should not be telling residents that they cannot keep a vehicle on their private property for a certain portion of the year.”
Councillor Nicole Boutestein was less certain and noted she would support the changes so long as there is an opportunity to review them and see how they are impacting residents. Boutestein presented an amendment to the legislation requiring it to return to council for review by the end of August 2019. The amendment passed unanimously.
Councillor Scott Richardson noted his concern for the definition of work vehicles being included with RVs, and noted he was concerned about placing controls on vehicles people use to “make their living every day” but ended up supporting the bylaw because Council will have an opportunity to review it following Boutestein’s amendment.
Property & Boulevards
Changes are also proposed regarding landscaping requirements and items affecting the condition of properties. Under the new law, residents will have to maintain the boulevard adjacent to their property, including keeping the grass below 15 centimetres, removing accumulated fallen leaves or other debris, utilizing approved landscaping materials only and banning the removing or pruning of trees without prior approval from the Town.
The revised legislation also strengthens the powers of the CAO with regards to unsightly property. For dangerous and unsightly property, the CAO or their designated officer may take whatever actions or measures are necessary to eliminate any danger to the public or deal with unsightly conditions of a property in accordance to the powers and authority provided to the Town through the Municipal Government Act.
The policy passed swiftly, with administration noting that at a public open house about these changes, the few residents in attendance noted general support for the changes, and the Town has received minimal correspondence regarding these changes. There were only a few clarifying questions and comments on the policy before the unanimous vote.