I quite enjoyed the public hearing about short-term rentals on Oct. 27.
It wasn’t as long as I had feared as I cuddled up with my favourite blanket and some pizza in the office and I learned a few things.
I hope those who attended as well as mayor and council, who were tasked with listening, gained a different understanding as well.
First, I like seeing the passionate people of Revelstoke come up to bat.
Thank you to those who participated! It was so great to see opinions from across the spectrum.
It was also a good reminder we really shouldn’t judge people by what they have.
I too am guilty of jealously thinking: ‘They have a big house they must have lots of money.’
But at this hearing we were reminded that a mortgage and ever increasing property taxes puts a lot of people in tenuous situations, and how many rely on tourists to come to town, just like many of the other businesses.
I too am frustrated when I see a never ending list of “looking for accommodation” posts on the Revy Rentals page, while I walk by houses that are sitting empty during the shoulder season.
However, one good point that was made was these houses would not be affordable as long-term rentals, even if all of the rooms were rented out.
In the beginning I was intrigued by the idea that short-term rentals be regulated to the secondary suite. It kind of makes good math. Either take a one-bedroom place off the market or take a five-bedroom place off the market.
But in the end, affordability is an issue and we need both the houses full of renters and the private suites for long term rentals.
Plus, I think the economy likes it when big groups come to town. How do we balance that?
Even with a different understanding of the issue, I am still concerned about the proposed regulations.
Like many people in the world, I rent and am a long ways away from being able to afford a mortgage. The proposed changes that could see every residential property able to legally short-term rent have me worried.
Why would anyone rent long term when they can make so much more money short-term?
When all is said and done, I don’t envy the councillors.
They have a tough decision ahead of them that will impact many people’s lives as well as the long term culture, accommodation and development of the city.
No one can really say how this will turn out in the future.
And there is no possible way to make everyone happy.
But thanks to the mayor and council – we need people to make these decisions, even if we don’t always agree with them.