One Ontario cottage county could upset many if it proceeds with plans to regulate short term rental accommodations.
Prince Edward County, located about two hours from Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario, has seen an overwhelming increase in short term rentals over the past few years, many of them Airbnb listings.
As a result, the county council has explored its options, including changing bylaws and adding hefty licensing fees to owners of short term units, deterring that investment.
Supporters of the regulations say the amount of short term accommodation leaves streets "dark" when the units are empty, and that it brings strangers into the community, which leads to noise, safety concerns, and a reduction in community.
But many are opposed to the regulations, saying they will throttle the economy. If these short term units are reduced in number, it will leave the area with less returns on its huge investment in tourism.
A petition, started by Curtis Sprissler, looks to stand against the regulations.
"Protecting tourism is protecting our entire community," reads the petition, which was nearing half of its desired signatures as of Monday morning.
"We therefore call upon the Municipality of Prince Edward to retract the proposed bylaws and to exercise caution and restraint in the consideration of any future proposals."
The county's report on the issue found that there are both pros and cons to the number of short term rentals, and outlines options for addressing both. The report found over 28,000 people used Airbnb to stay in the region over the past year, marking a 140 per cent year-over-year increase.
Whether or not the regulations will be put into place is yet to be seen, but it will be interesting to see how they affect other regions' desires to do the same, including Toronto.
by Michael Ott via blogTO