Cowichan Valley campground and RV park price increases forcing tenants out

Cowichan Valley campground and RV park price increases forcing tenants out

Some long-term tenants of a Cowichan Valley campground and RV park are scrambling after price hikes are forcing some to move.

Carol Lawson is among them living at Riverside RV & Camping. She’s been living along the Cowichan River home for the past five years.

What she pays to park her recreational vehicle and access electricity and water is increasing from $500 a month to $1,200.

“I knew there would be a price hike but this is so beyond it. I’m only on two pensions. CPP and OAP and that’s like $900 a month to live on. I just don’t think it’s fair,” said Lawson.

The hike means she has to move.

She’s among those living on 15 sites along the Cowichan River that are facing an increase.

“I was told they can not accommodate my bus in this park. It’s too big. There’s no room for me,” said Sonja Mutch, another camper.

New owners have recently taken possession of the property that has more than 150 people living here. Many are low-income earners that have lived here for years, some more than a decade.

Other changes have seen the washrooms closed and a lot more stress about what may come.

“There’s not any happiness here. It’s not like it used to be. Everybody is just a bundle of tight sick. I’m sick to my stomach,” said Jeanyne Raper, another camper.

78-year-old Wes, a veteran, has lived here a decade and says he believes he has only one option if his rent jumps.

“Go on the street.”

Others are in a similar situation.

The property is commercially zoned within the Cowichan Valley Regional District for a campground and tourist accommodation.

None of those living here have a tenancy agreement — something that would provide protection to tenants.

The manager of Riverside RV & Camping says a request for an interview with the new owner but he declined to comment.

Lawson says unlike some she at least has some options, though limited.

“My unit here is going to go into storage at a friend’s place up in Cedar and I have my truck and a camper and I’ll be living in my camper.”

It’s part of a housing crisis that’s now playing out for some at the park in real-time.

Recently, Duncan city council and District of North Cowichan council directed staff to examine options for people living in their RVs illegally.

Residents of Riverside RV & Camping in the Cowichan Valley say they are going to have to move after management increased prices. (CHEK News)

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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