British Columbia

She lives in a trailer on her father's land. But now the district has ordered her out

A woman from the Creston area says local government is trying to kick her out of her trailer and off land owned by her father.

Regional District of Central Kootenay says recreational vehicles cannot be dwellings

Andrea Courtney has been told to leave her trailer by March 15. (Submitted by Andrea Courtney)

A woman from the Creston, B.C., area says local government is trying to kick her out of her trailer and off land owned by her father.

Last spring, Andrea Courtney moved into a fifth wheel trailer on her father's eight hectares of land, just outside Creston in the Kootenays.

"I was tired of renting off of people and my father offered me a couple acres of his property."

Courtney and her partner built an addition to the trailer with wood and propane heat and a metal-sided roof to handle snow load.

Courtney says a couple of weeks ago the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) wrote her and her father saying neighbours had complained.

The regional district ordered the trailer off her father's property by March 15.

"I'm not trying to bother anybody, I'm just trying to live off the land," Courtney said.

In a letter to the Courtneys dated Jan. 15, the regional district says, "Recreational vehicles are not permitted to be occupied as a dwelling and your designation prohibits any type of camping facilities."

It says the Courtneys' land is permitted for two dwellings but the "accessory dwelling may not be a vehicle." 

Andrea Courtney's father, Terry Courtney, says it's ridiculous. He says people live in RVs all over the Kootenays, including many on his street.

Courtney said he is just trying to help his daughter, who has multiple sclerosis.

"It's our property, we pay taxes," he said. "All we want is to have our daughter here so we can help her."

Courtney says he's had a long-running dispute with one of his neighbours and he believes that is where the complaints originate.

He's taken to social media to rail against what he sees an injustice in rural B.C.

"RDCK is trying to kick people off properties living in tiny homes or RVs regardless [of] who owns the property," Courtney writes in one post.

The issue of RV living has become a contentious one in B.C.

Last fall, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District had to state publicly it was not cracking down on people using recreational vehicles as permanent dwellings after complaints from RV owners.

What began as a half-dozen people concerned about local bylaws grew into a movement for rural rights in B.C. — a movement the Courtneys say has now expanded to the Kootenays.

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