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Regional District responds to ongoing dispute over tiny home in Peachland

Click to play video: 'Peachland Tiny Home Fight'
Peachland Tiny Home Fight
The Central Okanagan regional district has responded to an ongoing dispute over a tiny home in Peachland – Jan 4, 2024

An Okanagan man has been living in a tiny home on his 12-acre property near Peachland, B.C., for seven years.

Ryan King says he built the tiny home on wheels according to the building code with the intention of permanently living in it year-round with his wife and pets.

“I’m rarely ever inside, so that’s why I bought a big piece of land — to live in a tiny home – whereas most people live in a big home on a small piece of land,” said King told Global News on Thursday. “Cost-effective and simple. I am always outside doing something, so why would I need a 4000-square-foot house?”

Click to play video: 'Peachland man fighting to stay in his tiny home'
Peachland man fighting to stay in his tiny home

However, King says a complaint from a neighbour about his living situation has resulted in an ongoing battle for the past three years with the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO).

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RDCO Community Services Director, Todd Cashin, confirmed that the Regional District has received complaints about a tiny home in the Trepanier area, and says the RDCO has been working with the homeowner for some time.

“When we receive complaints about these types of situations, staff contact the property owner right away, and work closely with them to try and help them comply with the bylaws,” said Cashin.

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King believes that under Regional District regulations using an RV as a permanent dwelling is not allowed in the Okanagan.

The RDCO says tiny homes and RVs are permitted in the Regional District in certain circumstances.

“First and foremost, it’s important that the home is safe, so it needs to meet the BC Building Code,” said Cashin. “In most instances, you need a building permit. In the case of RVs need to obviously meet Canadian Standards for fire code and egress, and ensure that these units are safe for people to live in. Typically, we require a building permit typically require water and sewer and, or septic.”

Click to play video: 'Vernon couple fined for living in their RV'
Vernon couple fined for living in their RV

Since the dispute started King says the RDCO has come by his property and issued several fines – equaling around $1000.

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King has also taken steps to try and meet the regulations but has been unsuccessful.

“In some cases, when we receive complaints and we do an investigation, I would suggest the biggest thing we see in the Central Okanagan is structures being built without permits,” said Cashin.

“We’re making sure from a health and safety standard that whether there’s some fire issues that need to be addressed, but most common is we want people to apply for a building permit and we want people to show that they’ve there’s proof of water and sewer and or water and septic disposal.”

Meanwhile, King is still pushing for change and wants the regulations amended to make living in a tiny home easier.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 2100 people have signed an online petition in support of King staying in his tiny home and having the regulations changed.

“If they are willing to work with me on this whole tiny home situation it is great that they are willing to cooperate it is a step in the right direction,” said King.

“Ultimately, I would like to have the bylaws changed, so that people who are in my situation are not forced to build a house on their own land. I still don’t see any real issue with the way that I live. And until the Regional District comes up with a logical reason as to why I can’t live like this I am still going to push for change.”

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Click to play video: 'Vernon couple living in RV allowed to stay'
Vernon couple living in RV allowed to stay

“We definitely are very aware of the housing crisis that’s happening all across the country,” said Cashin. “We’re working very closely with our municipal partners and with the province on creating all kinds of opportunities for different housing and we’re here to try and help as best we can.”

Click to play video: 'Residents speak out against housing development'
Residents speak out against housing development

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