Alberta town to introduce parking restrictions to combat 'van life'
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Calgary's Bill Macfarlane
Published Wednesday, May 15, 2019 8:28PM EDT
A town nestled in the Alberta Rocky Mountains is planning to introduce parking restrictions to make living the “van life” a little more inconvenient.
Town council in Canmore, Alta. recently voted to introduce a no-parking zone between the hours of 7 and 9 a.m., which would force those staying overnight in their vehicles to vacate.
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Canmore Mayor John Borrowman told CTV Calgary that town council originally opened up an area known as the “panhandle” for overnight parking as a way of being more accommodating for tourists, but now as many as 100 people have taken up semi-permanent residency in the parking lots.
"Some people were creating campsites with all sorts of accoutrements," he said.
Brandon Wenkoff, one of the long-term campers, said he thinks the town's parking restrictions will mean a lot of people will leave.
"If you really wanted to stay you could, but because of the added stress a lot of people are going to move on, which is probably the intention in the first place."
Part of the reason behind the flood of people living out of their vehicles is the rent in Canmore, which is the highest in the province. The average one-bedroom apartment costs about $1,000 per month, not including the utilities.
These high prices make it difficult for those working for minimum wage in the service industry to afford traditional housing.
The town is hiring an outreach worker to speak with campers about why they shouldn’t stay overnight and will help to try and find a solution.
The bylaw should be in place by the end of May.