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Apr. 8, 2020 | Wednesday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Yes, short-term rentals are hollowing out NOTL
File photo.

Dear editor:

We would like to address the idea of hollowing out of NOTL that was mentioned in three letters in your recent Feb. 27 edition.

Two of the three letter writers made it clear that they have a financial interest in keeping short-term rentals in town. 

To quote Alison and Nick Lloyd-Davis, the businesses “are keen to make a profit.” And Jason Clements says he manages 25 vacation homes in the Old Town, from which I’m sure he takes a good percentage of the revenue as a management fee.  

My husband and I live in NOTL (Old Town) all year-round. My family has lived in this same house for over 45 years. We now have only four year-round neighbours.

By neighbours we mean people we know by name, who we could go to if we needed help. We firmly believe that our neighbourhood has been hollowed out. In fact, it is quite obvious to anyone with eyes.

In the summer, we are surrounded by people we don’t know, who are often rude, noisy and disrespectful.

These people are not neighbours. They are not part of the community. They are clients. They in no way contribute to our sense of community. They only contribute financially to the businesses.  

In the winter, we are surrounded by no one. At this time of year, we have to deal with unshovelled sidewalks, copies of the Niagara Advance newspaper piled up and rotting on the sidewalks and roads. We have long given up trying to pick them up and bring them home to recycle because there are so many.  

This is hollowing out. The majority of these houses are empty, no one lives in them, and the problem continues to grow each time a house is put on the market.

Short-term rentals do contribute to the lack of affordable housing. If a large portion of a community’s housing stock is tied up in short-term rentals, it is not available for anyone else to rent.

Communities like Picton, Ont., are limiting the percentage of their housing stock that can be used as short-term rentals so they can maintain some housing for long-term rentals for people who work in the community.

Alison Hepburn and Dave Galloway

NOTL

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