Wheatland County has proposed to make temporary amendments to its land use bylaw to allow residents to quarantine and self-isolate in their recreational vehicles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current bylaws prohibit the use of recreational vehicles as dwellings, temporary or otherwise, within the county, however, COVID-19 has made amendments temporarily necessary.
“Residents of Wheatland County had expressed concerns about whether they would be able to use their recreational vehicles to quarantine or self-isolate. In order to accommodate this, staff determined changes needed to be made to the land use bylaw,” Matthew Boscariol, general manager of community and development services, told the Mail.
A first reading of the amendment was heard during Wheatland County’s regular council meeting on June 16.
Prior to the first reading, research revealed Strathmore was the only municipality to make similar amendments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents of the municipality are permitted to use their recreational vehicles, however, they require an on-street parking permit to do so.
Rocky View County, surrounding Calgary, made temporary amendments following the 2012 flood in Bragg Creek.
They placed a time restriction on the bylaw, with a date by which the vehicle would need to be removed and cease to be used as a temporary dwelling.
Wheatland County is using this amendment into consideration as an example of how to accommodate residents through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boscariol noted any recreational vehicles used for quarantine purposes “must be self-contained with no discharge of sewage or wastewater outside of an approved sewage disposal system,” and each parcel within the county would be limited to one recreational vehicle under the bylaw.
Other amenities such as electricity and water from an outside spigot would need to be obtained through the property owner’s own dwelling, according to Boscariol.
A removal date has been temporarily set for October 1, 2021 though Boscariol noted Wheatland County would consider revisiting the bylaw should quarantine measures be needed beyond that date.
A public hearing was held ahead of the regular Wheatland County council meeting on Tuesday, August 18. Results of the hearing and minutes from the meeting were unavailable at the time of publication.
By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/The Drumheller Mail