PenderBlog From The Pender Islands Of Canada

March 21, 2009

Short term vacation rental debate reignited…

Filed under: Governance and Legal — Jocko @ 6:34 pm

Submitted by Carol Budnyk, President, Pender Island Chamber of Commerce  www.penderislandchamber.com

March 20, 2009

The owner of a North Pender Island resort is being forced by the B.C. Supreme Court to shut down, reigniting the debate over short-term vacation rentals on the Gulf Islands.

Robert Conconi, owner of the Timbers on North Pender Island, has been operating a commercial resort on residential land since 2003, violating an Islands Trust bylaw prohibiting short-term vacation rentals in residential areas.

The Timbers, which sits on 55 acres of waterfront land, has five cottages that accommodate up to six people each. The largest rents for up to $2,900 a week in peak season.

Residents in the area complained “en masse” about the resort, said Gary Steeves, a trustee for North Pender Island.

They were concerned about planes flying in, music from weddings, and strangers driving around their neighbourhood, he said.

It was the first time the Islands Trust has gone to court to resolve what has become a longstanding dispute across the Gulf Islands, between property owners who rent out their idyllic cabins and cottages to short-term guests and the residents who dream of a peaceful neighbourhood without a mini-hotel operating next door.

Sheila Malcolmson, chairwoman of the Islands Trust Council, said the ruling will send a message to property owners that “neighbourhoods are for neighbours.”

But Carol Budnyk, president of the Pender Island Chamber of Commerce, said the decision could threaten North Pender’s tourism industry, a major driver of the tiny Island’s economy. “With the Trust attempting to prohibit short-term vacation rentals, it is definitely detrimental to our economy as a whole.”¬† See letter to the Islands Trust from the Pender Island Chamber of Commerce here: conconicase.pdf

Budnyk said she hopes the Timbers, whose guests spend money at other area businesses, will not have to shut down.  For the full Victoria Times Colonist story, go here: STVR article

For a thread of past posts on PenderBlog regarding STVR’s, enter STVR in the search box at the bottom of the left hand column of the blog and hit “search”.

3 Comments »

  1. Yikes, Timbers is one of the most popular wedding or misc gathering venues, and wedding guests spend lots of money on Pender. You wonder how ‘ghost towns’ are created? In this case a combination of a ravaged economy, soaring ferry fares, and ridiculous government actions like this one will do the trick. Why couldn’t they just concentrate on re-zoning Timbers rather than shutting it down if zoning was the problem? Pender needs Timbers, it fills a very important niche.

    Comment by Vortexman — March 22, 2009 @ 8:11 am

  2. I am in favour of STVR having used them on Pender for several years prior to moving here 5 years ago and not only on Pender but in Hawaii, England, the Caribbean and Mexico. I think both B&B’s, and STVRs should be licensed as businesses and have to follow guidelines. Only so many people allowed as per number of bedrooms. On island contact so if there should be loud and disruptive renters they can be reported and if necessary evicted.

    I would not have visited Pender if the only accommodation available were the B&B’s or the expensive resorts. I like my independence. The Pender Inn is too small to count, and I would have missed a chance to find a beautiful place to live. I think those businesses reliant on tourists will have to close if the STVRs have to close.

    Comment by Valerie Butcher — March 22, 2009 @ 10:44 am

  3. I agree that STVR’s should be responsible in terms of screening/limiting guests as appropriate; posting signs about water conservation; as well as having an island contact in case of problems. I understand that most already do this, and that problems are rare. Requiring licensing individual home STVR’s as businesses may lead to a slippery slope whereas, to be fair, everyone doing business out of their homes would be required to be licensed and declare their properties as commercial or even industrial, which is 90% of Pender businesses. Nobody wants that. Timbers however, isn’t someone’s private home; it’s more like a resort. The trust should just reclassify it and move on to things that help the island rather than hurt it.

    Comment by Vortexman — March 22, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

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