Directors Bill Kershaw (Area O), left, Stephen Quinn (Area B) and Carol Schaffer (Area A), heard from the public during a hearing for the TNRD's proposed Official Community Plan on Nov. 18 at the Blackpool Community Hall. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)

Short-term rentals controversial for East Barriere Lake

A public hearing to hear concerns or support for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s new Official Community Plan (OCP) was held at the Blackpool Community Hall on Nov. 18.

Despite numerous written, in-person and over-the-phone submissions, they all addressed a similar topic — the use of temporary use permits (TUP) and short-term rentals (STR) in the East Barriere Lake (EBL) area.

Even the OCP states: “STRs are acknowledged as a popular, yet controversial, form of visitor accommodation, especially in East Barriere Lake’s lakeshore residential neighbourhood.”

Some submissions were in favour of TUPs and STRs, allowing homeowners on the lake to rent out their homes to friends and family over the summer, either as a way to share the lake experience, or to help pay for the property and provide security.

For full-time resident Bob Zanusso, renting on EBL for 13 years helped him make the decision to purchase property there, and has been a full-time resident for 16 years. He added he decided to make the property his retirement home and invested capital to make it a year-round residence.

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“I share this to highlight the fact that, not unlike other renters, our spend supported local businesses,” he wrote. “As an owner, all my renovations, materials, trades and services were local as well. This addresses the ‘how to’ in improving economic growth in the region — a significant impact, I believe.”

Others felt that because they purchased their properties under an RL-1 zoning, which doesn’t allow STRs, the allowance of one would require a zoning change, and allowing the STRs would inhibit the lifestyle the properties were purchased for.

While long-term rentals or bed and breakfasts are more welcomed (and allowed under the zoning), the growth of STRs “has pitted neighbour against neighbour,” read a submission from Phil and Sherry Braithwaite.

A total of 15 written submissions were sent to the TNRD before public hearing. Two spoke in person and 11 provided their input over the phone.

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The OCP replaces the indivudal OCP’s for Blue River, Barriere, Clearwater and Avola and covers a wide range of topics, including parks and open spaces, housing needs, culture and the arts, geography, ecosystems, utility infrastructure and much more. The entire document is over 100 pages.

All submissions — written, in-person and over-the-phone — will be created into a report and brought back to the TNRD board at the next board meeting on Dec. 17. At that time, the board as a whole will discuss the bylaw and any changes, as well as consider a third reading and adoption of the OCP.

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