A public hearing about a new, 20-unit trailer park in Errington was a non-event, according to Area F director Julian Fell, who said the area is a natural hub for lower-cost housing like mobile homes.
Fell said that while there had been some concern early on, “we mostly hammered it out in the early stages, so now people just had a few questions.”
The proposal would allow 20 mobile homes on an already-serviced property that currently has two mobile homes at 1720 Whibley Road, behind Demxx off the Alberni Highway. The new park will have already-established trailer parks on two of its boundaries.
RDN Manager of Current Planning Jeremy Holm said the early concerns about drainage and access were addressed by staff and the proponent with the appropriate professionals and are reflected in the current proposal.
“In this area we’re desperately short of lower-end-priced housing and my response is, what’s taken this so long?” Fell said after the April 4 hearing held at the Bradley Centre.
“That particular piece of land had been identified as a future trailer park 20 years ago. It’s part of a high-density-use zone that extends along the highway,” Fell said.
Holm explained that the area falls within the official community plan (OCP) designated Bellevue/Church Road Rural Village, targeted for increased densification by the RDN’s Rural Growth Strategy.
Fell pointed to the neighbouring trailer parks and forested land, which is designated as part of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), which he said means they have to impose a notice on the property title “warning residents they could be exposed to the consequences of farming,” like tractors and dust There will have to be a buffer on that side of the trailer park.
The proposed zoning change from Manufactured Home Park 1.14 would establish a new zone Manufactured Home Park 2 (MHP-2), that trailer parks will use in the future, including regulations on the design, layout and construction of the proposed manufactured home park.
Fell said four people attended the public hearing. “They were mostly residents of the nearby trailer parks and they were just concerned about little details. They didn’t get up and say I’m for or against it.”
“It was awkward because everyone asked a question and I had to say, this is a hearing we can’t have a discussion,” he said. “During a hearing we’re only allowed to take statements, but people had specific questions, so we sort of bent the rules a little bit. In order to answer their questions at the end, I had to leave the room.”
He said the process appears to be working well in this case and “My experience in the past is that if someone at a hearing brings up a good point, it invariably makes it’s way into the final version of the bylaw.”
“In the past people have brought forward very good stuff, stuff we hadn’t thought of so we changed the bylaw at third reading to incorporate the points they brought up.”
A report on the hearing will be part of the RDN agenda, likely at the April 26 regular meeting Fell said, which the board will consider and could vote to pass.