A change in policy for the permanent residents of a Summerland resort is affecting some who have lived there for many years.
The Summerland Waterfront Resort, on Lakeshore Drive, has units owned by individuals.
Most of these are in the hotel’s rental pool, although the owners will stay in them from time to time. However, there are also some property owners, including one single mother and one retired couple in poor health, who have lived at the resort permanently for years.
Loreen and Ed Knelsen bought a unit in the south building of the resort in December 2009, which has been their permanent residence since that time.
Then on Dec. 11, 2019, they received a letter from their strata council, telling them their fees would increase by $10,800 a year if they did not put their unit into the hotel’s rental pool. Their fees without the increase were $640 a month, or $7,680 a year.
Units in the north building – the first building constructed at the Summerland Waterfront Resort – were initially structured to be in the hotel’s rental pool for at least 180 days of the year. In the south building, the rental requirement was not in place, Knelsen said. As a result, she and her husband bought the unit as their home.
The Knelsens have an application with the Civil Resolution Tribunal to appeal the strata council decision. They have also contacted the provincial ombudsperson.
The couple has listed their unit for sale and it has been shown to prospective buyers. However, it has not yet been sold.
Because of her husband’s health, she said they would like to sell their unit while it is still easy for them to move.
“There’s an urgency to do it while he is still healthy, but we can’t find anything,” she said.
She said there are other property owners affected by the change, including a single mother who has lived in the south building since it was constructed.
While the covenants on their property do not require them to have the unit in the rental pool, the resort hotel is a tourism building, not a residential building.
Michael Drance, a resident at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, said the resort allowed people to live in the units permanently for many years.
“People have lived there full time since the hotel was built, 15 or so years ago. No one cared, no zoning complaints were made,” said Michael Drance, one of the permanent residents in the resort.
This changed in 2019 when three owners applied to leave the rental pool. The result of their request has been an ongoing dispute between the strata council and the permanent residents at the resort.
Drance said the strata council has met with the municipality about enforcing covenants to keep residents from living at the resort year-round.
Leisa Shea, the Summerland Waterfront Resort strata president, said the issue of people living as permanent residents at the resort came to the strata council in 2019. At that time, the strata council began efforts to bring the resort units into compliance with the zoning.
The strata council offered a two-year grace period for those living permanently at the resort, to allow them to find other accommodations, but none of the permanent residents accepted this offer, she said.
“We have a strata that is just trying to follow the proper steps,” Shea said.
In late August, a request came to the municipality’s Advisory Planning Commission to allow for residential use at the resort. The recommendation from this meeting was to deny the request and to deny the request for unit owners to be released from the restrictions of the rental pool covenants. However, the recommendation has not come before Summerland council.
Brad Dollevoet, director of development services for Summerland, said the zoning of the property will come to the council table in late January or early February. The staff recommendation is to deny zoning changes for the property.
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