The County is looking to adopt a phased approach to regulating short-term rentals (STRs), beginning with registration.
Recommendations provided by consultants J.L. Richards & Associates provide a balance between supporting tourism by permitting STRs, ensuring public safety and providing long-term rental opportunities. The consultants expanded their initial dive into the issue by looking into what Bracebridge, Trent Lakes, Lambton Shores and Fort Erie are doing.
They also talked to Airbnb, the Haliburton Kawartha Lakes Housing Corporation, Environment Haliburton! and representatives of the local cottage rental and maintenance industry, as well as the economic development and tourism industry.
Coun. Brent Devolin said Lake of Bays “has done a wonderful job. I’m ready to copy and paste what they have and tweak it so it’s relevant to our area …”
Lake of Bays regulates STRs through a bylaw, and they’re permitted in various zones identified in the zoning bylaw. The township issues three classes of STR license, based on the number of STRs operated by the same owner, total number of nights rented per year, minimum number of consecutive nights of stay, and maximum number of occupants per STR.
Licensing fees there range from $250 to $750, with renewal fees from $125 to $500. Occupancy allows for two people per sleeping area and one parking space per guest room.
Council also recommended allowing two people per bedroom, making sure there is enough septic capacity.
They also leaned towards one parking space per bedroom as a guideline with some flexibility as well as a parking management plan.
Council deferred a decision for now on a municipal accommodation tax and said “no” to STRs having to be zoned.
Next steps are ongoing consultation with lower tier municipalities and a recommendation report in September.