“Over the past year, we have been engaged in a planning process to investigate the benefits and concerns of STRs and options to regulate them. The results of the planning process were presented to the Board April 7 and 8,” explains Planner Michele Bates. “We brought forward three options that could be considered should the Board wish to proceed with regulations: zoning and Official Community Plan amendments, Temporary Use Permits, or an Order in Council to allow the RDEK to use Business Licences.”
The Board voted to proceed with regulating STRs via Temporary Use Permits (TUPs), which can specify conditions under which STR use can be carried on, and can allow and regulate the construction of buildings for STR use. TUPs are issued for up to a three-year term and could be extended for a further three years before permit holders would need to re-apply.
“The decision to proceed with regulations triggers a new, detailed planning process,” stresses Bates. “There is a long list of items that will have to be considered in this next step of the process including, but not limited to: what the permits would regulate, how the STRs will be managed, what policies will be required, what the application process and fee structure will look like, what thresholds will need to be set, how TUPs could be revoked and how specific items such as parking and noise could be addressed.”
There will be additional consultation with the public through this next phase of the project and staff will now begin laying out an expected timeline to complete the work and bring the recommendations back before the Board. “While we don’t know yet how long this next stage will take, we do know regulations will not be introduced prior to 2023,” adds Bates.
This accommodation supports the tourism industry and in 2021, Area A generated $3.3 million in short-term rental revenue.