West Kelowna  

West Kelowna council has made significant changes to proposed bylaws around short-term rentals

City's about face on rentals

The City of West Kelowna has done a complete 180-degree turn when it comes to a new bylaw regulating short-term rentals.

During a public hearing last month, city council heard loud and clear from residents who were vehemently opposed to provisions which would restrict short-term rentals on property which already included a secondary suite or carriage home.

The bed and breakfast industry was also up in arms over wording that would lump them in with short-term rentals, thus restricting the way they currently operate.

City council had narrowly adopted those provisions at second reading prior to the public hearing, but made it clear after hearing from the public they wished to see what a set of bylaws would look like without those restrictions.

During a lengthy presentation and discussion, council moved away from both points and asked staff to craft a new set of bylaws.

"My concern initially was we would lose some long-term rentals," said Mayor Gord Milsom, who initially voted in favour of restrictions on carriage homes and secondary suites.

"I understand we have to find a balance, and it's not right to put the responsibility of long-term rentals on the backs of secondary suite owners."

Council also agreed to change the categories of short-term rentals away from minor and major, as well as to look at setting a cap on the number of rentals allowed within the city.

"We are stewards to protecting this community...and I am concerned about losing the residential aspect of our neighbourhoods," said Coun. Rick de Jong.

"I do want to send a message we won't be a free-for-all."

Council voted 6-1 to allow staff to bring back the concept a cap back to council after the initial intake of applications has taken place.

Council will now be tasked with rescinding second reading of the current bylaw proposal and bringing forward a revised bylaw. A second public hearing will also be required.

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