Vic Tyler’s tiny house and his two sheds are still on his property along the Cowichan River, more than a week after they were ordered removed.
Tyler said he has yet to hear from the Cowichan Valley Regional District after bylaw enforcement officers issued him a notice on Feb. 5 informing him that he must remove the structures by March 15.
“The whole issue is still in limbo at this time, but I go there everyday to work on the property, cut the grass and just be on my land,” he said.
Tyler, who bought the quarter-acre of property near the fish ladder at Skutz Falls to live on in his retirement, has been told he must vacate his 34-foot-long, eight-foot-wide tiny house that he built and remove all the structures on the land or possibly face fines of up to $1,000 a day, as well as legal action.
One of the reasons given was that the house and sheds were within the riparian zone of a fish-bearing stream, and no structures are permitted within 30 metres of the stream.
The other reason is that, according to the district’s bylaws, tiny houses are not permitted as residences in the CVRD.
Tyler has since moved his tiny home to another part of his property outside the 30-metre area around the stream, and has moved into an apartment in Lake Cowichan until the issue is resolved.
He has also hired a professional to prepare a riparian report on his property and was told that there is an “undue hardship” clause that states that riparian zones can’t be made totally uninhabitable.
“I’m sending an update to the CVRD and I’m hoping that it will clear up the issues around the riparian zone,” Tyler said. “But the issues around tiny homes in the district are still up in the air.”
Tyler said he’s pleased that the VI Free Daily story earlier this month on his situation received such positive feedback for his plight by readers.
“I’m hoping it will make a difference,” he said.
Ian MacDonald, the CVRD’s manager of building inspection and bylaw enforcement, said the district doesn’t communicate the details of bylaw-enforcement files with the public, only that it has an active file and is in the process of perusing compliance.
“As every case is different, CVRD staff work with property owners to give reasonable time, due to varying circumstances, to bring their property into compliance,” MacDonald said.
“Due to the recent events concerning COVID-19, staff have relaxed some of the deadlines.”