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.