Short-term rentals on the East Ferris radar


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David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative

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East Ferris is working to create a policy regarding short-term rentals within the municipality, particularly vacation rentals offered on sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo.

Mayor Pauline Rochefort mentioned during a council meeting that the municipality has received “letters from residents concerning Airbnb” and “earlier this summer, we received a very comprehensive document from a citizen” describing certain existing policies. implemented by other municipalities.

This document has been submitted to the Municipality and to the Director General, Jason Trottier, for review.

“We touched on this report” at our last economic development meeting, said Greg Kirton, director of planning and economic development.

Another meeting will take place next month, “where we will have another discussion about this,” he added.

“We are also entering the final stages of our full zoning bylaw,” Kirton said, “with the intention of making the draft documents public by Thanksgiving.”

The new zoning by-law will include a policy regarding short-term rentals.

Kirton also notes that there will be a “public comment period” on the matter, the results of which will be discussed at a planning and consultation meeting in early November.

“We are actively exploring ‘the subject’ on the part of the planning and economic development departments,” Kirton said.

Com. Terry Kelly stressed, “There’s no point in reinventing the wheel” regarding Airbnb’s recommendations, and suggested city staff do more research on what other cities and municipalities have done before writing a policy.

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For example, earlier this year Ottawa established rules whereby short-term rentals offered by Airbnb and Vrbo can only be listed if it is the host’s primary residence or cottage.

Toronto did the same in 2020 and also created a registry for rental operators. Registrants are required to pay a municipal lodging tax of four percent.

“We should look at other municipalities and see if there is common ground,” Kelly said.

“We are not the only ones with this problem,” said Coun. Rick Champagne agreed. “I think we should look beyond our borders to see what they’re doing.

David Briggs is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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