VICTORIA -- The District of Oak Bay is easing its bylaw that restricts recreational vehicles and campers from parking on residential properties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made by Oak Bay council at a special council meeting Monday.

“The point of this is to allow, particularly health-care workers but also other essential workers, a chance to self-isolate a bit more than just inside their home,” said Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdock.

“[Now] they have the ability to live in a secondary structure on their property.”

Oak Bay council has now directed district staff to temporarily relax enforcement of the zoning bylaw that prohibits the use of, and storage of, campers on residential property.

The amended bylaw now allows residents to use one camper per residential property as a temporary accommodation for the specific purpose of self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recreational vehicles and campers can be located in the front yard, back yard, side yard or in the driveway.

The amendment does not apply to campers and recreational vehicles parked on the street, which is still prohibited in Oak Bay.

Residents who are using a camper for self-isolation purposes on their property are requested to advise the district by contacting the Building and Planning Department by phone at 250-598-3311 or by email at[.]

The district says that it would like to know if a camper is being used as a dwelling so that first responders are aware of a secondary living quarter on a property if they are responding to an emergency call.

The bylaw amendment will remain in place until the province’s state of emergency is lifted.

Murdock says the bylaw change came into effect based on the suggestion of a local resident.

"If other people have other ideas about how the municipality can help frontline, essential service workers or health-care workers in their efforts, just let us know," said Oak Bay’s mayor.

"We will do everything we can to help."

Further information on what steps Oak Bay is taking during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the district’s website here.