West Kelowna  

West Kelowna opts out of provincial rules on short-term rentals

City opts out of legislation

It appears the City of West Kelowna can have its cake and eat it too.

City council Tuesday agreed to opt out of the province's new short-term-rental legislation pertaining to short-term vacation rentals.

The legislation allows municipalities to opt out of the principal residency requirements if it meets certain criteria, chiefly having a vacancy rate of three per cent or higher for two consecutive years.

West Kelowna's vacancy rate was 3.4 per cent in 2022 and 4.2 per cent last year.

Council voted to opt out, which will protect a number of vacation rentals in the city's tourist and resort zones including Seclusion Bay, Barona Beach, the Cove, Casa Loma Resort, Boucherie Beach Cottage, Paradise Escapes and 3060 Seclusion Bay.

Planning manager Brent Magnan says these resorts have traditionally been excluded from the city's short-term rental licensing program because they were built as tourist accommodations and have operated as tourist commercial.

However, he says under the new provincial short-term rental legislation, if there is the ability to live in a unit full time then the entire area would be restricted from short-term rentals.

The opt-out does not affect the rest of the city. Short-term vacation rentals will remain limited to principal residences outside of the resort and tourist zones.

On the other side of the lake in Kelowna, which has a much lower vacancy rate, the province has told the city similar resort developments will not be exempt from the restrictions coming into effect May 1.

Council also gave initial approval to several changes to its short-term rental bylaws pertaining to zoning, business licensing, ticket information, bylaw enforcement and fees and charges.

Those changes also brought bed and breakfast into the same bylaw heading a short-term rentals, although they do remain their own entity.

Fees for short-term rentals and bed and breakfasts were also brought into alignment. It will cost $250 to register either with a $500 annual licensing fee.

A public hearing will be held on the zoning portion of the changes.

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