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Rossland invites residents to participate in short-term rental survey

City is seeking input from residents on short-term rental regulations
The City of Rossland invites residents to take a survey on short-term rentals in an effort to craft a new policy. (Photo Jim Bailey)

There are definite benefits in being a year round tourism destination, but with it also comes its share of challenges.

The City of Rossland is seeking input from residents on the future of short-term rental (STR) regulations.

The popularity of short-term rentals has grown considerably not only in B.C. and Canada, but globally.

In Italy, the communities of Venice and Florence created a document called the decalogo, or “Ten Commandments” in 2021, a plea to the federal government to help the cities combat the explosive growth of the STR industry in the last decade.

“Venice, in order to survive, must preserve a residential urban identity that is not linked only to mass tourism, which wears it out, consumes and progressively empties its vital soul,” reads the decalogo.

“You have to aim for tourism of quality, attentive and respectful of a city’s fragility, as well as accompanied by a dimension of balanced and sustainable economy.”

In 2016, Rossland formed a committee to review the effects, impacts and issues related to unlicensed short-term rentals (STRs). Following that review, a number of changes were made to the city’s bylaws and policies regulating STRs, such as Airbnbs and VRBO rentals of less than 30 days.

But as applications increased, council put a moratorium on short term rental applications in January 2022, until a policy to govern them is in place.

“In 2022, Council raised concerns about the increasing number of STR zoning applications, the unfairness of the regulations, the complexity and enforceability of the regulations and the decreasing long-term rental availability and affordability in the city,” read the city’s survey release.

City staff introduced the complexities of the STR to the new council in a Nov. 21, 2022 report. Council directed staff to engage the community with a survey, and report back with information on how to proceed with the development of a policy, further consultation on regulatory options, and a preferred approach.

“In order to create clear and manageable regulations, it is important to define the intended goals for these regulations.

“The feedback we receive from our community members and stakeholders in the survey will help the city define the priorities and determine the level of regulation expected and required by the community.”

The staff report points to an STR toolkit that addresses the benefits and harms STRs can contribute to local communities.

Benefits include income generation for operators and support workers; higher housing values; greater selection for visitors; local experiences for visitors; quick, new tourist accommodation; support for local tourism economy; and greater neighbourhood distribution of wealth.

The negative aspects come from housing loss; housing unaffordability; unfair advantages; revenue loss; increased contraventions of local regulation; and reinforced inequities between different socioeconomic groups.

The city’s survey asks residents to weigh in on the importance of STRs, their benefits and challenges, the appropriate regulations and regulatory preferences, priortizing policy objectives, and where STRs should be permitted.

“The tourism economy is integral to Rossland. Short-term rentals help provide a diversity of visitor experiences to Rossland, supplement the accommodation market and provide homeowners with additional income opportunities.

“However, experiences in other municipalities as well as in Rossland, have shown that short-term rental accommodation has reduced the availability of long-term residential rentals and/or increased the rates for long-term residential rentals.”

To participate in the survey and help Rossland retain its “vital soul” take the survey at:

Read: Rossland council delays eliminating short-term rental fees until 2022

Jim Bailey

About the Author: Jim Bailey

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