Pemberton councillor looks for action on short-term rentals 

Council briefs: Crime stats presented

click to enlarge WWW.SHUTTERSTOCK.COM - nightly rentals Coun. Ted Craddock had some tough questions for Village of Pemberton staff this week about the continued proliferation of illegal nightly rentals.
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  • nightly rentals Coun. Ted Craddock had some tough questions for Village of Pemberton staff this week about the continued proliferation of illegal nightly rentals.

Pemberton Councillor Ted Craddock asked Village of Pemberton (VOP) staff some tough questions about what's being done to rein in short-term rentals during a March 6 council meeting.

Staff explained that since 2015, they have sent out 38 letters informing people they were not complying with VOP bylaws, and 15 of them removed themselves from homesharing sites.

Yet despite the effort, there are currently 37 short-term rentals advertised on Airbnb — and at this point the Village has issued three business licenses to them. (That number fluctuates greatly depending on the season, added Nikki Gilmore, the Village's chief economic officer.)

"The one thing we're noticing about individuals is they're getting very sneaky about their postings and how they're doing it," added Gilmore, saying that the homes and suites are increasingly difficult to locate.

The lack of progress left Craddock frustrated. "You said there are 37 at the present time in the Village of Pemberton presently active, and of that, we've got three that are licenced — (eight) per cent," he said.

"And we've been working on this for over a year?

"What resources do you need from council to enhance what you're doing right now?

"I've got complaints continually, and now we're going to have licenced people, who will come and say, 'What was the point of getting licenced, you're doing nothing about it.'"

Sheena Fraser, the VOP's manager of corporate and legislative services, said getting people to comply with current bylaws has been tough. "In some cases we've been completely ignored," she explained.

Fraser highlighted the need for a new set of bylaws regulating short-term rentals, which has been in the works since the summer.

"We're really needing that zoning bylaw... it's a very challenging thing to monitor this," she said.

The bylaws, however, won't take effect until July at the earliest, explained Gilmore.

They are being developed as part of a broader redesign and update to the community's bylaws.

"We're just about to go into public consultation. We can't speed it up anymore," said Gilmore.

Under the new rules, the municipality will limit the number of short-term rentals, require them to have adequate parking, and pay the business rate for utilities. A new category will be created for short-term rentals that doesn't require operators to serve breakfast, as licenced bed and breakfasts must.

Crime stats

Cpl. Mike Hamilton of the Pemberton RCMP updated council on 2017 crime statistics at the VOP's regular council meeting this week.

The number of charges RCMP laid went up by 24 per cent — an increase Hamilton attributed to a more proactive police force, rather than an increase in crime.

"We're going out looking for things, instead of waiting for calls," explained Hamilton.

Drug and impaired-driving charges were the largest source of the increase, he said, adding that there was a 60-per-cent rise in marijuana seizures.

Hamilton attributed the increase in drunk driving charges to "young, keen" staff with an interest in getting impaired drivers off the road.

He also noted a 30-per-cent decrease in domestic violence offences and assaults, representing 33 total assaults.

At the encouragement of council, Hamilton committed to visiting Pemberton Secondary School to discuss the dangers of fentanyl.

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