Land use concept plan for Ucluelet Harbour Seafoods temporary staff housing for 13 Recreational Vehicles on the property at 1970 Harbour Crescent. (IMAGE FROM UCLUELET COUNCIL AGENDA)

Ucluelet approves RVs as temporary housing solution for fish plant workers

“We are hoping for the best. Everybody has to support each other here.”

Ucluelet Harbour Seafoods (UHS), the community’s major fish processing plant, reeled in a major victory for seasonal employee housing during the Aug. 13 regular council meeting.

Mayor Noël and council voted in favour of issuing a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) to allow seasonal employee housing for up to 13 recreational vehicles on the property of 1970 Harbour Cr., which neighbours the Ucluelet Campground and the Water’s Edge Resort.

In May, UHS submitted an original proposal to allow up to 25 RVs. The current proposal reduces that number to 13 trailer camping spaces, located within the footprint of a paved area of the site.

“We’re very happy with the decision here at UHS. We figure it’s a good start to building our processing team with some added housing. It’s much needed by more than just Ucluelet Harbour Seafoods, the whole town needs help with staff housing and we appreciate the hard work that Ucluelet Township staff did,” said UHS GM Dave Dawson.

RELATED: Employee housing solution for Ucluelet Harbour Seafoods debated

On July 4, council, district staff, UHS staff, and representatives from Water’s Edge met on site to discuss the potential visual and noise impacts of the employee housing RV complex.

“Personally, if they are setting [the RVs] on the concrete pad, I don’t have a big issue with this. We did deal with noise at the site visit and found it to be lacking,” said councillor Jennifer Hoar during the Aug. 13 meeting.

“I agree with Coun. Hoar,” said Coun. Marilyn McEwan. “I think if the trailers were situation on the left, it would pose a problem, especially with the offshore factory ship they have purchased. Even though it’ll be processing offshore, they’re going to be offloading at that far dock, so I don’t think there would be room for the trailers there as well as the fork lifts and the trucks.”

Conditions of the permit are for 13 spaces only, and subject to improvements and proper servicing, such as: sewage, plumbing, and electricity. Another condition is that UHS has an onsite manager present when the property is occupied.

Dianne St. Jacques, general manager of Water’s Edge Resort and the former mayor of Ucluelet, said from a hotel management side, she respects the decision of council.

“We are hoping for the best. Everybody has to support each other here. We are such a small community. I was happy to have the opportunity to voice our concerns,” said St. Jacques.

She noted that one of the main worries raised by Water’s Edge residents was monitoring the site.

“I am happy that it’s down to 13. There are already 11 [RVs] on the property. We will be happy to see that they have someone onsite 24/7 to maintain quiet. We only have one bylaw officer,” said St. Jacques.

UHS has a 12-month season. In the summer, they process offshore hake and around mid-October, they switch to gulf hake, said Dawson.

“[Council’s decision] shows that the town wants to do what they can to boost employment here. Our corporate office is excited that they helped,” he said.

The TUP for UHS seasonal staff accommodation is valid for up to three years. In the event that UHS fails to comply with the conditions of issuance, council has the authority to revoke the permit.

“We’re starting to look for more permanent solutions,” Dawson adds.

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READ MORE: Fish processor in northern B.C. to be audited after reports of illegal bartering

READ MORE: Roe herring fishery approved despite opposition

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