Tenants face displacement after Vancouver Island RV park more than doubles rent

Some longtime residents of a Vancouver Island RV park say they are being forced out with nowhere to go after its landlords dramatically raise rent.

Carolyn Lawson is one of more than a dozen tenants with waterfront lots at Riverside RV & Camping in the Cowichan Valley.

Lawson said new owners have recently taken over, with plans to use the waterfront lots as camping spaces. She said she was told her current rent – ​​around $500 a month for land, water and electricity but no septic tank – would climb to around $1,200 a month.

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With no open spaces elsewhere in the park, she and other Riverside tenants are being forced to leave with nowhere to go, she said.

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“With two pensions, I can’t even get close. Quite a shock. No warning. No written notice, no rent increase, it was just $1,200 or you’ll have to leave,” she said.

“It’s either like that or go away. So there are a lot of people who will be homeless because of this.

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Stephen Lambert, who said he had lived in the park for two years, now faces homelessness.

Lambert said he lives on a fixed income of $1,050 a month, which means he can no longer afford to stay.

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“I’m 67 and on a fixed income, and all of this is going to cost me more for storage. I’m basically on the streets now, I’ll be living in my motorhome,” he said.

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Lambert said people couldn’t risk sleeping in their vehicles in Duncan or North Cowichan, or they risked hefty fines.

Park residents have not signed a rental agreement and are technically paying a fee per day. Lawson said she didn’t know if they had any legal protections as tenants.

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North Cowichan District Mayor Al Siebring said his community and Duncan are working together on a way to compassionately address the issue of vehicle occupants, which could lead to relaxed parking regulations in places like church parking lots.

He said the housing market in the area, like elsewhere in British Columbia, remains extremely tight.

“This situation is likely to be exacerbated by the Riverside Campground situation. Exactly how to deal with it, I don’t know,” he said.

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“We’ve taken a fairly lax approach to enforcement; enforcement of our regulations is always driven by complaints. And if we do not receive complaints, we do nothing. And if we get complaints, we don’t automatically and instantly write tickets, we go to people. »

The Riverside RV & Campground manager declined to comment, and Global News could not reach the park owners.

Meanwhile, Lawson said she had an offer for a place to store the fifth wheel she lives in and a place to stay in an RV at the moment, but others don’t have that. chance.

« I’m 66, I don’t want to live in an RV, » she said.

« But there’s no compassion, nothing, it’s just like that and you’re gone. »

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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