Out of touch on STRs

Editor:

Very disappointed in the direction and comments provided by all but one of the Advisory Planning Commission members about short-term rentals at their meeting on Sept. 1. They did not appear to be well informed and seemed unconcerned about the issues impacting their neighbours and residents in Sechelt. They compared their own usage of STRs in Europe and other countries to what happens in Sechelt.

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When one buys a property situated near a motel/hotel or any other busy commercial entity, you are aware of the potential noise, traffic and disruption you may incur. However, if you purchase a piece of property in a rural and quiet neighbourhood, one is not prepared for the STR offsite and off-Coast owners that purpose build large (six-bedroom) homes to operate as mini-hotels (12 guests or more). Neighbours are then forced to deal with excessive traffic for the area, loud music and parties, barking dogs left out on decks and garbage put out that attracts wildlife. One commission member indicated that the cost of a business licence and a deposit is a large expense for STR owners – not when they are raking in $300 to $500 per night plus a cleaning fee and other charges.

In Sandy Hook, we have five STRs in a small area with offsite/off-Coast owners. Those owners ignore current bylaws that require notice of local contact to neighbours, and someone meeting the guests upon arrival. One resident that expressed concerns to an STR owner was told to move. Resident complaints can only be made to the bylaw office on Monday to Friday and any STR disturbances on weekends do not merit high priority for police.

Sure hope that the Sechelt council reviews the current STR process in greater depth and enacts bylaws to protect the livability of our neighbourhoods.

Diana Mumford, Sandy Hook

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