People living in recreational vehicles in the central Interior mountain community of Valemount, B.C., are now permitted to do so by village council.
A new policy now in effect opens the door for RVs and portable buildings to be used as residences for up to four years. The temporary housing structures must be parked or situated on residential lots within village limits and only one structure is allowed per lot.
Mayor Owen Torgerson told CBC the decision was made to help put roofs over people's heads during an ongoing housing crunch.
According to the 2016 census, the village is home to about 1,000 residents and rental homes were already hard to come by before an influx of Trans Mountain pipeline workers came to the area also looking for places to stay.
"We had, if not zero, very close to it prior to these larger industrial projects taking place," said Torgerson, referring to village vacancy rates. "Whether you are working in industry, or whether you are working in the tourism industry, you need a bed and a roof."
A staff report to council says the policy will also help to ensure the temporary structures meet the necessary standards to be able to connect to village water, sewage and electricity.
"We thought it would be an opportunity for us to move forward on the housing situation," added the mayor.
It will cost RV dwellers $650 for a temporary use permit that can be approved for up to one year. Applicants will need to apply again annually for up to four years maximum.
Torgerson said the biggest challenge for council now is that some lots have more than one temporary structure on them and this violates the new policy.
"Worst case scenario, these folks will have to move on," said Torgerson.