Skip to content

Mission council mulls RV parking bylaws after housing committee raises concerns

Staff told to come back with recommendations regarding allowing RV dwelling on private property
Complaints have been frequently made to the bylaw department about RVs parked overnight on public streets. flickr photo.

The City of Mission’s Sustainable Housing Committee (SHC) has concerns about revamped bylaws that would strengthen enforcement on people living in recreational vehicles parked on public streets.

The city bylaws currently prohibit RVs from being used as dwelling units, regardless of if they are parked on public or private property.

Two new amending bylaws were introduced in May, 2021 with the goal of reinforcing the bylaws with fines and closing certain loopholes.

But the SHC said the amendments could increase homelessness, further stigmatize people, may force them further away from support services, and the timing is questionable considering the current housing crisis. They stressed the need for flexibility, and safer locations for RVs to potentially park.

Mayor Paul Horn said that while he supports adoption, he thinks there needs to be a supporting policy framework in place, and suggested deferring the amendments for another two weeks.

“I don’t want for us to be going … and suddenly just saying to people, ‘Hey, person who’s obviously got no resources, you’re going to be ticketed until such time as you move,’” Horn said. “It’s not a very strategic approach or a humane one, frankly.”

Complaints have been frequently made to the bylaw department about RVs parked overnight on public streets, typically relating to parking violations and taking up space, debris, noise, improper waste or sewage disposal, and impeding or blocking driveways or sidewalks.

Problems have been increasing, specifically regarding a number of RVs parked at Jack Poole Harbourside Park in Mission’s waterfront area, and bylaw officers have been working to move them with little success.

“Enforcement staff are very sensitive to the situation … they reach out to the outreach team to try to connect these people with housing,” said Dan Sommer, director of development services, noting that ticketing is a last resort.

“Some of this enforcement work with these folks has been going on for over a year … Oftentimes, these folks are actually refusing some of the help.”

Council voted unanimously with Horn’s motion to defer passing the bylaws until the next meeting.

“A few weeks ago, we were here talking about our Affordable Housing Strategy. And I think this is a good addition to the idea of trying to be flexible with people because I don’t want to displace anyone,” Horn said.

After hearing the concerns of the SHC, staff have been directed to come back with recommendations regarding allowing people to live in RVs parked on private property.