Distict won’t allow more RVs on farm land

A Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine resident’s idea to expand RV storage on his property has reached another obstacle.

  • Apr. 24, 2016 4:00 p.m.

A regional district resident’s idea to expand RV storage on his property has reached another obstacle.

Jim Wold wants to have more room to store RVs that belong to many Europeans who come here every summer and probably spend upwards of $100,000 while here.

His storage shed is full with 112 RVs and he says he has a waiting list of 60 people that he managed to get down to 30, who he wants to accommodate but can’t because he says of the regional district and Agriculture Land Commission – his land is within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

My goal here I guess is to provide a service for the community,” he says.

My number one interest is the community. I could personally care less. I don’t need more storage or to make more money.”

He says no matter what he does, the answer is always no from the regional district and the March monthly board meeting was his third meeting with the board in the last two months.

When he talked to the planning committee, it pushed the issue off to employees, who decided on a teleconference with the ALC, which he did.

That was a “dead end” so he went to the board, explained what he wanted to do and the board suggested he go back to the planning committee.

In other words, you go around and around and around in circles and nobody wants to make a decision,” said Wold.

He wants to have approval so while he has the time and energy to build the extra structure.

Besides letting more tourists store their RVs at his place, ensuring they return summer after summer, another building on his property would mean the regional district could raise his taxes as they’ve done in the last few years, raising his taxes from $2,800 to $6,000 because of the storage building there already, he says.

Wold believes that a covenant on his property which says he can only run the RV storage he already has until he sells and that prevents him from building another storage structure was done by the ALC after the regional district told it about his storage.

If they would give me a good reason why they shouldn’t allow me [to build] then we would have the beginning of a discussion but they don’t even give you a reason, they just pass it on and it goes around and around,” said Wold.

Nobody wants to make a decision.”

Regional district manager planning and economic development Andrew Webber said Wold’s property is in the Agricultural Land Reserve and he got permission in the past to expand the storage building.

The ALC allowed him to continue to use it as storage but then obliged him to put a covenant on the property that doesn’t allow him to expand or transfer it beyond his and his wife’s lives.

His latest effort is that he wants that covenant removed,” said Webber.

Not only that but he wanted to be able to expand that business and the actual structure I presume.”

He has to seek that removal from the ALC and the regional district is only involved in that it would be asked to comment on his application but he has not made it yet, said Webber.

If the covenant was removed, the regional district’s next move would depend on what the removal entailed, he added.

If the whole property was removed from the land reserve, then it would come under zoning bylaw and RV storage would be seen as a nonconforming use but could not expand without a change in the zoning bylaw, said Webber.

The ALC provided Wold’s latest application to exclude his land from the ALR, dated June 10, 2014.

It acknowledged that even though the ALR had agreed to let him continue the storage of RVs even though the building was constructed against the rules of the ALR, that the commission held “its position that the non-farm use of the building should be temporary and that the commission does not want to see a permanent non-farm use intrusion into the ALR.”