In the upcoming review of policy to regulate short-term rental vacation properties in Summerland, the mayor and council has the opportunity to address two very important issues, namely the impact of operator-absent short-term rental vacation properties on neighbourhoods and affordable housing.
Currently, 174 short-term rental properties are operating under the radar and without authorization in Summerland neighbourhoods and 90 per cent of these businesses operate without an operator on site. Some operators are not in the community, others are not even in the province.
Operator-present short-term rentals like bed and breakfasts have a place in Summerland.
They are a great way to supplement household income, meet people and provide a service to tourists. When the operator resides on site, those guests who generate excessive noise, cause parking disturbances or create safety issues can be immediately managed.
However, 156 operator-absent short-term rental vacation properties are now profitably off- loading the costs (economic, emotional etc.) created by misbehaving guests on to the neighbours in Summerland.
Summerland’s council claims to want to see more affordable housing in the community. Yet it has allowed short-term rental vacation properties to operate in contravention of the community’s bylaws at the expense of those who can’t find housing and can’t afford it if they can find it.
The current policies could simply be formalized and enforced.
But my fear is that their policy review process is not intended to address affordable housing but to accommodate those who have been profiting and will continue to profit the most while creating dire circumstances for others.
Drive around Summerland in the early morning and see how many people are living in their cars! Those with vested interests in the short-term rental vacation businesses will surely make their positions known to council.
Ensure council knows that you’re concerned about the preservation of safe, quiet neighbourhoods and affordable housing for those who want to live and work in Summerland.
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