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Apr. 8, 2020 | Wednesday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Short-term rental operators are 'real people'
File photo.

Dear editor:

I am writing regarding editor Richard Harley’s Feb. 20 editorial, “Solution needed for short-term rentals.”

There needs to be a response to this editorial because of the number of errors and misleading statements in it. For instance, Mr. Harley says that “Bed and breakfasts are hobby businesses for many live-in operators and those live-in operators should be the ones that benefit from town policy, as they are real, voting residents of the town.”

In fact, fully half of the short term/vacation rental homes are owned and managed by people living in NOTL. Are these residents then not “real” people? Ouch. I’m one of these “not-real” people!

I imagine also that B&B owners take exception to being called “hobby” businesses, which implies they are not expected to make any money — but are merely “hobbies.”

B&Bs are another accommodation business that supply needed accommodation to travellers and tourists that wish to stay in town overnight or longer, just as short-term rental and vacation homes encourage longer stays as well.

Both businesses bring to town the right kind of tourist: those who stay awhile and frequent our restaurants, theatres and wineries — not just day-trippers.

He says the vacation rental should be regulated with the actual homeowner having to live in the house. Unfortunately, that means there would be no more cottage rentals in town.

These vacation home rentals have become very popular with tourists who like to stay overnight. The legal ones in town are regulated and subject to town fees. It is the illegal homes that need to be stopped and fined.

Stopping illegal rentals is where I agree with Mr. Harley. By some reports there are more illegal short-term rentals than there are legal and regulated homes, which pay a hefty fee for their licence. This is where we need more action from the town.

 It is also erroneous to continually refer to Airbnbs. This is merely a marketing platform — one of many. A large number of local B&Bs are also listed on that platform.

As well, Mr. Harley blames short-term rentals for “hollowing out of neighbourhoods.” This is simply not the case. In my neighbourhood, in Old Town, half of the neighbouring houses are second homes. Some neighbours we see only a few days a month and even more rarely in the winter when other neighbours are gone for months at a time.

On it goes. There were other errors that show Mr. Harley’s opinion piece was poorly researched and showed a lack of knowledge of the accommodation businesses which are so important to this town.

Tony Chisholm

NOTL

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