John Reiter is pictured on his property off Dyke Road. The regional district says he can’t use a trailer as a primary residence.

John Reiter is pictured on his property off Dyke Road. The regional district says he can’t use a trailer as a primary residence.

Being pushed off his own land

Regional district property owner told he cannot live in RV

An Area B resident says he is receiving unfair treatment from the Comox Valley Regional District because of what he considers a “malicious” complaint from a neighbour.

The CVRD, however, says John Reiter is contravening a bylaw by living in a recreational vehicle on his Farmview Road property off Dyke Road.

The district has received a written complaint about the 63-year-old Reiter, who purchased the property in 2006. It is zoned Rural ALR, which prohibits occupation of a trailer for longer than 60 days in a 12-month period.

Reiter claims the 60-day limit is only enforced when there is a complaint. He says his lifestyle does not compromise the area.

“The rest of the neighbourhood has supported me,” said Reiter, a retired mill worker. “Why would one bad neighbour run the whole show? Do good neighbours not count?”

He says the CVRD is aware that hundreds of people live in RVs, which he feels is not “intrinsically wrong or damaging.” While a run-down trailer may not be suitable in a Seal Bay subdivision, he feels his setup is suitable for his neck of the woods. He cannot afford to build a house, nor can he afford rent on top of mortgage if he is forced off his property.

Last year, the CVRD board voted to proceed with legal action in an effort to obtain compliance. The district has since served Reiter with a petition and supporting affidavits regarding the residential occupancy of his RV. Reiter responded with his own evidence, but has been advised that material must be in sworn affidavits for it to support his response to the district’s petition to the Supreme Court. The CVRD has also advised him to seek independent legal counsel.

“Our lawyers tried to help him with that whole process,” said Derald Lewis, manager of bylaw compliance and special investigations. “We’ve tried everything. We’re still looking for compliance without going to court. He’s been advised of that. We’d like to settle beforehand.”

Reiter feels the CVRD has lacked oversight and acted with impunity, but Lewis feels the district has exercised leniency by allowing residents to live 60 days in a trailer.

“It’s been a horrible two years of my life,” said Reiter, who claims he has been threatened, bullied and stonewalled when seeking a freedom of information request. “Is it OK to treat a person who is retired with modest resources and does no harm to the environment or my community like this?

“There are a great many people who for one reason or another are going into retirement without a lot of money. Did we suddenly go from being valued citizens to riffraff? To be abused like I have?”

Lewis and other officers have visited Reiter several times. On one occasion, Reiter called the RCMP when he felt Lewis had trespassed and acted aggressively. According to Lewis, the attending officer said he had a legal right to be there. Lewis says the Local Government Act provides authority for regional district bylaw officers to enter a property to determine if bylaws are being met with compliance. In some cases, officers ask police to accompany them to a residence.

Reiter’s documents contain affidavits from a realtor, stating his property does not affect neighbouring property values, and from a health officer, stating that the property poses no threat to the environment or to public health.

“I’m doing absolutely no harm,” Reiter said.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read