Have your say on vacation rental policies

District of Squamish seeking feedback through survey

With our low supply of rental housing, what should be done about vacation rentals in Squamish?

The District of Squamish has launched an online survey to gather community input on this issue.

article continues below

Go to squamish.ca to fill out the survey.

 The survey is open through to Halloween and responses will "inform the development of options for discussion with council and the community," according to a District news release sent out Saturday.

“There is no easy answer or sweeping approach that is 'best' in the case of short-term rentals, as each community has unique needs and wants,” said Mayor Patricia Heintzman in the release. “Achieving a balanced approach begins with us hearing from citizens and getting a broad sense of where the community sits on this topic and considering the perspectives they bring to the table.”

 According to data from Host Compliance, the District’s third-party monitoring service, there were a total of 429 Squamish short-term rental units as of August.

 

The 2016 Affordable Housing Task Force recommended a short-term rental policy and enforcement action.

"The District has been actively monitoring local short-term rental trends and reviewing regulatory approaches across B.C. since then," the release states.

The recently completed Official Community Plan includes direction to develop regulations addressing vacation rentals in Squamish.

Once the survey answers are collected, District staff will use the feedback to develop some draft approaches.

More consultation will take place in early 2019.

Once an approach has been determined by council, draft zoning and business licencing regulations will be prepared.

By 2019, a new Squamish council will be in place. Early in the current campaign, The Chief asked candidates if they supported stronger regulation of Airbnb-type businesses, as part of our larger online questionnaire. Most candidates were in favour of stronger controls.

[Some candidates chose not to complete the online questionnaire or this question.]

"I would recommend Airbnb be allowed in principal residences but not allowed as a stand-alone property," Lee O'Callaghan.

•••

"Yes," Doug Race.

•••

"Yes," Bianca Peters.

***

"Yes," Edward Archibald.

***

"Yes," John French.

***

 "I need to understand if there are community concerns around this issue. So far, I have not heard of any," Paul Lalli.

***

"Yes," Jeff Cooke.

***

"I support registration, inspection for quality control, standards and certification as a regulation, but I don’t immediately support additional taxation if it is a portion of a primary residence. This is how we can help provide high-quality much needed short-term accommodation with transparency of our property owners, understand supply and demand and contribute to the experience of travellers that desire this type of accommodation," Janice D. MacLean.

***

"Yes," Armand Hurford.

***

"Yes," Philip Audet.

***

"Business Licences & monitoring instead. New platforms would replace AirBnB anyway," Eric Andersen.

***

"Yes," Alanna Gillis.

***

"I believe that AirBNB cannot be blamed for our housing affordability issues here in Squamish, and that with proper regulation AirBNB can assist the tourism industry within our community to bring more people to visit, and even possibly help to grow Squamish," Kevin Jewell.

***

"Yes," Jenna Stoner.

***

"Licensing and tourism taxation would help with revenue for amenities and data collection,"  Susan Chapelle.

***

Yes," Rick McKinney.

***

"Yes," Karen Elliott.

***

"Yes," Mike Young.

***

"Squamish has limited hospitality rental accommodations and is about to lose a few more.  We need to build more such accommodations to meet and increase our tourism industry. We also need to understand the need for a formalized AirBNB system. The Distirct needs to complete its study of the issue and risks in Squamish; currently, there are 356 Airbnb listings or about four percent of total housing and eight licensed B & Bs in the District, meaning almost all short-term rentals except hotels and motels are operating outside municipal law. We need to review what other municipalities are doing, in particular, if the recent District of Tofino model is adaptable to the needs of Squamish," Jacquie Menezes.

***

"Yes," Rajan Hans.

***

"While public consultation has begun to guide the future of Airbnb policy in Squamish, I believe the best course of action will see us with a mixed policy approach. It is important that we free up rental suits for those in town desperately looking for housing; however, we must also balance the needs of homeowners, for example, looking to help ease the burden of skyrocketing property taxes and other expenses. Airbnb of one room in a house is very different than the entire house or suite. I believe we can look to Vancouver for appropriate policy examples," Sacha Fabry.

Read Related Topics

@ Copyright 2018 Squamish Chief