Whitehorse Daily Star

Faro officials won’t be forcing mobile home residents to move

Faro Mayor Jack Bowers says the town will not be forcing residents of a municipally-owned mobile home park to leave or move their homes.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 16, 2017

Faro Mayor Jack Bowers says the town will not be forcing residents of a municipally-owned mobile home park to leave or move their homes.

Approximately 50 people turned out to a public meeting Tuesday night in the community over a number of proposed changes to the town’s Official Community Plan (OCP) and zoning bylaw.

A proposal would have seen the residents of a trailer park – with seven mobile homes – faced with the possibility of a move as the town moved forward with expanding the RV park next to it.

Those opposed to the plan have argued there’s already adequate RV parking in town, with an overflow space available during the few weekends each year the RV park is full in addition to the government campground nearby.

It had been suggested the town would provide those faced with a move with space at the other community-owned mobile home park nearby to move their trailers to along with $5,000 toward moving expenses or look at other moving arrangements depending on the needs of the individual residents.

On Wednesday, Bowers said after Tuesday night’s meeting, council will not make anyone leave the mobile home park.

“We’re not going to compel anyone to leave,” he said.

He described the meeting as “lively,” with the potential expansion of the RV park being the most controversial of the potential changes to come up.

A number of valid points were made which council will now consider before second reading of the changes to both the OCP and zoning bylaws come forward.

While the town may not have any intention of making current residents of the mobile home park move, Darrell Rieger says that’s not enough. It essentially renders the homes as worthless for anyone hoping to sell in the future, he believes.

Rieger addressed the town at Tuesday night’s meeting on behalf of the residents of the mobile home park. He wants the mobile home park rezoned for residential use, with the individual lots sold to residents.

That would allow them to fix them up and make improvements.

The site is currently zoned for commercial use, with the homes considered an existing non-conforming use.

Rieger said there was “tension everywhere” through the meeting. However, it was clear other residents of the community are behind those living in the mobile home park who want to remain there.

Bowers acknowledged the concerns raised by residents. He also noted the zoning bylaw and OCP considerations are still in the early stages.

Even council members may have some changes to what administration has brought forward, he said.

Council typically adopts first reading for such bylaws and policies to move it to the next stage, he added, where input is considered and changes made.

Tuesday night’s meeting, he said, was held to do just that. Council has also asked residents to submit concerns in writing to get a clear sense of residents thoughts on the issues going forward.

Given the concerns expressed, he said, he expects it will be several months before any zoning or OCP changes are adopted by council, with a number of changes to what is currently proposed.

He did note consideration is also being given to how the community will deal with the vacant housing units (many being townhouses) in the community that the town took possession of in December 2016.

The town is aiming to clean them up and put them on the market, but Bowers said it wants to ensure that happens in a way that the homes are purchased and used.

He noted his hope that a plan will be in place by early summer outlining timelines and processes for that to happen.

It’s possible a development corporation could be formed, operating at arm’s-length from the town, tasked with selling the homes.

All of that, though, he stressed, is up for discussion.

Ian Dunlop, the chief administrative officer for the community, said staff would be putting all the input collected at the meeting, as well as written submissions, into a report for council’s consideration.

Comments (3)

Up 4 Down 0

Michel Dupont on Feb 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Without the mine, Faro has evolved as a quaint and safe community with segments of the population made up of retirees, artists of many specialties such as musicians, painters, photographers, sculptors, young service providers with their families, and a fair share of old timers who know just about anything you need to know about Faro.
One can reach Fisheye Lake in less then 10 minutes by car and fish right from the shores or bring the family for a swim on the rec. side which provide clean changing rooms, outhouses and a sandy beach. Trail galore...from just about anyone's backyard can lead you anywhere in town or ride your snow machines or four wheeler down to the river or take on the dena cho trail that leads to Ross River. We have skies forever with a good 30 miles visibility from east to west. We do get sunshine year round. Yes, like any other communities, we do have shortcomings...however, we've learned to live with them. At the end of the day, one has to stand outside and look out on the valley bellow, it makes everything right again.

Up 3 Down 1

Spud on Feb 22, 2017 at 11:30 am

Sounds to me Mr. Rieger and his supporters are the only residents with their head screwed on right. Unfortunately now the homes are virtually of no value without assurance of property ownership -- perhaps strata/condo titling would be appropriate in this situation.
Unfortunately, the Govt of the day dropped the ball when mine closure occurred. They should have followed actions of previous mining town closures such as Uranium City Sask, and closed the town down. Us taxpayers would have had a piano lifted off our backs. Perhaps then Ross River could have been replanned and developed to a modern community instead of a getto.

Up 6 Down 1

June Jackson on Feb 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Good. People are settled in their homes. Just leave them alone.

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