The results of a Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen survey on vacation rentals have now been published, part of an ongoing process to inform a board review of short-term rental regulation.
The survey was open from Jan. 3 to Feb. 15, receiving over 1,630 responses, including at least a few from every electoral area, asking for feedback on how the Temporary Use Permit process is working at the moment.
Overwhelmingly, those responses came from Electoral Area E, Naramata.
"I suppose [that] isn't a surprise," said Evelyn Reichert, RDOS planner, at Thursday's board meeting, but added that there were also many responses from Area A, rural Osoyoos, and Area I, which encompasses Kaleden, Apex, Twin Lakes and Skaha West.
In addition, 24 existing or past vacation rental operators responded to the survey to share their own thoughts.
Many respondents expressed strong support for a vacation rental registration list with contacts on the RDOS website, and an upkeep of current health and safety standards for Temporary Use Permits.
Responses varied on questions about whether only primary residences should be used as vacation rentals, and whether a TUP holder needs to have on-site management, or perhaps simply a 24/7 off-site contact for any complaints.
A few respondents felt very negatively towards vacation rentals, others noted their place in the local economy.
Some of the vacation rental operators who responded expressed clearly that they felt the RDOS had no business telling them what to do with their own property.
The full results are available online here.