Sidney, along with North Saanich, has seen an increse in individuals sleeping in vehicles. (Black Press Media File).

Sidney, along with North Saanich, has seen an increse in individuals sleeping in vehicles. (Black Press Media File).

Sidney, North Saanich record uptick in people living in vehicles

Individuals sleeping in vehicles linked to homelessness, housing affordability issues

Bylaw officials on the Saanich Peninsula have seen an apparent increase in the number of individuals living in their vehicles, but the full extent of the issue is not clear.

“We have seen an increase in individuals living in vehicles and RVs, however, we do not have statistics on this,” said Paula Kully, Sidney’s communication coordinator.

While the specific extent and cause is not clear, research has historically linked this phenomenon to individuals struggling with housing affordability and homelessness. A related question concerns what if any role COVID-19 has played in exacerbating pre-existing causes of housing affordability and homelessness.

Sidney’s streets and traffic regulation bylaw states that “no person shall use any vehicle or trailer parked on a street for the purpose of lodging, sleeping accommodation or a residence” with the initial fine for sleeping in a vehicle being $65 or $50 if paid within 30 days.

RELATED: Central Saanich Police find more people are sleeping in their cars

RELATED: Dallas Road is not an RV park: Residents fed up with overnight parking

Neighbouring North Saanich has also seen what Rebecca Penz, manager of communications, described as “a modest increase in complaints last year which may be a result of the impacts of COVID-19.”

North Saanich prohibits individuals from living in a tent or trailer. “The property owners can be fined; however, the district’s approach is to work to achieve voluntary compliance,” said Penz.

Looking elsewhere on Saanich Peninsula, Central Saanich does not permitted persons to occupy a trailer or motor home on property that is not zoned for a recreational vehicle campground or travel accommodation whether it’s their own property or not, said Britt Burnham, manager of community services.

The fine for such a non-permitted use is $500 per day, while the fine for parking to sleep is $50 per day, said Burnham, adding that the municipality has not had many complaints about this issue in pegging the total number of cases at seven for the “past few years.”

COVID-19, she added, has not changed the neither number of complaints nor the severity of the issue.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Central Saanich has received funding for a new multi-use pathway that promises to improve access to Butchart Gardens. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich receives grant for multi-use pathway to Butchart Gardens

Province funds entirety of $322,800 project through economic recovery grant program

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read