Removing an abandoned motorhome from a street in Summerland was a difficult, expensive task, a Summerland towing operator says. (Contributed)

Removing an abandoned motorhome from a street in Summerland was a difficult, expensive task, a Summerland towing operator says. (Contributed)

Abandoned motorhomes expensive to remove, Summerland towing operator says

Significant costs and efforts required in order to dispose of old, unusable units

The owner of a towing company in Summerland said people living out of motorhomes in the community can result in expensive problems for the municipality.

Rene Bourque of O.K. Region Towing in Summerland said he has been contracted by the municipality to remove abandoned old motorhomes left along roads in the community.

Older motorhomes are sometimes given away for free. The new owner must pay the cost of moving the motorhome, but once that cost is covered, the unit can provide temporary accommodation. For this reason, old motorhomes are sought by some in search of an inexpensive place to live.

READ ALSO: LETTER: Bylaw changes needed to address Summerland’s housing shortage

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However, the units are often abandoned and it is then up to the municipality to remove them.

Bourque has the contract to remove old abandoned motorhomes in Summerland and over the past two years, has had to haul away four or five of the units.

The costs and labour involved in removing an old motorhome can be significant, he said.

“The motorhomes that are showing up are just junkers,” he said, adding that the cost of restoring an aging unit is more than the motorhome will be worth.

Disposing of these older units is more involved than simply hauling it to the landfill, he said. The propane tanks and air conditioning unit must first be removed. Food and other materials inside the motorhome must also be disposed of.

One motorhome he was asked to move recently was more than 35 years old and had food and garbage left inside. In addition, there was significant mold inside the motorhome. As a result, Bourque said he had to wear protective clothing while inside the unit.

In addition to the costs and efforts involved in hauling away an unusable motorhome, the landfill fees can be expensive. The last motorhome he hauled to the landfill cost $1,000 in landfill fees. This fee was covered by the municipality.

Because of the efforts in removing abandoned motorhomes, Bourque is concerned about the results of using old motorhomes as living spaces.

In recent weeks, some in Summerland have been advocating allowing motorhomes, buses and recreational vehicles to be used as secondary suites, in order to provide housing to those in need.

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