Twenty-five seasonal workers are hoping to get a nod of approval from Ucluelet mayor and council to live in RVs this summer.
District staff received a total of 11 applications for temporary use permits (TUP) to allow for an approved RV campsite for seasonal staff. The TUPs are slated be reviewed during the May 11 regular council meeting and public input for each application will be accepted during this time. Council will make a decision on each TUP on this day as well.
“Although the workload in the planning department was already at maximum, staff have really stepped up to make this happen in a very short timeframe. Although this is only one potential housing solution – and a temporary one at that – everyone involved recognizes that it’s worth trying if it could ease the stress on workers and businesses even a little bit this summer,” said Ucluelet’s manager of community planning Bruce Greig.
Rick and Rebekka Lim submitted an application to allow for eight seasonal workers to live in RVs on their Minato Road property.
“It’s about time [the district] try something and allow some people to get involved and help with a temporary solution. The housing here is brutal. Most of our applications that come through are also looking for staff accommodation,” said Rick, who owns Ucluelet Petro Canada and Barkley Café.
He said they will provide Porto potties for their eight RV dwellers, but they will need to have their own generators and water tanks. His eight RV camping spots all fall under one permit.
“A lot of people have reached out to me [for a spot]. I have to reserve a handful of those eight spots for our own staff, but I definitely have a few extras to help out other local businesses,” said Rick.
“I’m very curious to see how this plays out throughout the summer, especially in the residential zoning. I think most people will be respectful of the rules because if you don’t follow the rules, you get kicked out without notice,” he went on to say.
Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce executive director Laurie Filgiano said since launching the Worker Housing Pilot in April, she’s fielded calls from other resort municipalities short on staff housing like Comox Valley and Osoyoos.
“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners. I’m really proud the Chamber has been part of this and I’m so proud that council was able to act so quickly on this,” said Filgiano.
“The fact that we were able to pull a project like this together in two weeks just goes to show that council is very well aware of the issue around housing and that it is a top priority for them to address it,” she said.
Filgiano doesn’t expect to hear too many complaints about the pilot project during the May 11 meeting.
“Twenty-five extra spots, just means that’s 25 people minimum because a lot of it could be double occupancy, so that could be 50 people, that now have a legal and safe house over their heads. That is a win. It can’t be seen as anything other than a win. It’s really awesome,” Filgiano said.