We moved here over 30 years ago and have stayed for one compelling reason: community. Unfortunately, the bedrock of our community – our neighbourhood – has been shaken by the conversion of the house of former neighbours into an absentee owner Airbnb (AOA). Rather than a family of four (and two families before them) that we knew and connected with as the kids grew, we now face a constantly revolving door of eight visitors.
We built our house across the street from our previous home, as we loved where we lived. Now we have the AOA. The noise and other disruptions caused by AOAs in residential areas have already been commented on in earlier correspondence to the Coast Reporter. I agree wholeheartedly. I am also deeply concerned about their negative impact on our community. We lost a house that used to be a home to neighbours. No new neighbours to greet on walks, chat with or call in an emergency. No new neighbours to volunteer with the fire department, coach baseball, support a high school bottle drive or go to a local restaurant in the dead of winter. No new neighbours with kids for our neighbourhood kids to play and grow up with. No new neighbours to help build community.
Knowing your neighbours and living in a neighbourhood are simple joys in life. Both are also critical components of a vibrant, healthy community. Town council will shortly be making decisions around short-term rentals. Will we have family neighbourhoods for residents or commercial ventures for visitors? I hope they decide against the dissolution of community that is the inevitable result of AOAs.
Margrett George, Gibsons