Short term rental talk continues

David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter

Council held another lengthy discussion surrounding the proposed bylaw to regulate short-term rentals and tourist homes in the Crowsnest Pass.
The discussion began with CAO, Patrick Thomas, highlighting what was discussed about the bylaw at the Public Hearing on May 3rd.
Some of the main topics brought up at the public hearing surrounded the proposed business license fee, number of pillows versus number of adults, response time for a complaint from a neighbour and whether STR's and TH's should be permitted in R1-R5 zones.
A full list of the topics discussed can be found on the municipal website in the May 17th package.
Following the presentation of information, Councillor held some discussion.
Councillor Filipuzzi was the first Councillor to speak.
"Not a day goes by where I don't think about this bylaw. I haven't spoken very much about this bylaw and I've tried to keep my comments to myself. Now I'm going to say some of my thoughts and some of the things I believe are part of this process that we're going through. First off, let's define a tourist home. To me a tourist home is an investment income property purchased to generate income, which in itself is an industry. Over the past two terms on Council we've developed two or three strategic plans. During the course of our strategic plans, one of our major priorities was quality of life. We want to provide a good quality of life for the residents that live in this community. Do short-term rentals affect the quality of life in R1-R5 zones? They could and probably in some locations do. Not in all instances though."
Councillor Filipuzzi's final thoughts included that bylaws are not written in stone once passed and that there are plenty of examples of this Council going back and changing bylaws once they see how it works to start.
Councillor Glavin then spoke to some changes she'd like to see.
"In the comments we received there's a part on tourist homes and maybe grandfathering them in. I don't feel it would be right to grandfather in a business that didn't have a license to start with. I still would like to see bed and breakfasts stay in permitted use because that's where it was to start with. There was comments made about the economic impacts to our community from the tourists coming. There was one letter that was written that we need to have a sufficient investigation of potential economic impacts of these tourist homes in our community and maybe that is something we should be looking at."
Councillor Ward said he'd like to see consistency across the board for home based businesses.
"If we are going to say it's $700 for a business licence for a short-term rental then it should be $700 for every home based business. If we are saying with two infractions you don't get your licence renewed for a short-term rental, that should be the case for every home based business."
Councillor Sygutek says that she does see a need for tourist homes in the Crowsnest Pass but that they need to be regulated strictly to ensure quality of life for full time residents is positive.
Councillor Girhiny said he sees short-term rentals and tourist homes as two different beasts.
"I think the biggest misconception here is short-term rental and tourist home. They're two different animals. Short-term rentals I have no problem with R1-R5. They're controllable. Tourist homes are a whole other animal and we have the zoning for them in our CRV's."
Mayor Painter also had some points of discussion.
"Right now I'm in the listening mode and I like what I'm hearing. I think we're going to come up with a really good bylaw. I like Councillor Ward's idea and do some canvassing of other communities to see how they're enforcing this. We have to look after our permanent residents. Quality of life is very important. I'm looking forward to this coming back."
Following the discussion, CAO Thomas said they will take what they heard form the public hearing and from Council and make changes to the bylaw before bringing it back to Council in the next June meeting.