The Gambier Island Local Trust Committee (LTC) has declined to opt in to short-term rental accommodation regulations coming to B.C. through new legislation in favour of waiting and collecting more information on regulations’ implications.
The Island Trust received a memorandum of the housing statutes and regulation changes to B.C. legislation, with the recommendation that Local Trust Committees consider opting in to the province’s principal residence requirement for short-term rental accommodations.
While staff recommended the LTC opt into the regulations, they were ambivalent regarding impact at the Jan. 29 LTC meeting
Opting in would bring the Gambier LTC in line with legislation being implemented around the province.
Gambier Island trustee, Joe Bernardo said that a briefing about how the proposed legislation would operate in the local trust area would be helpful in making a decision.
Gambier Island Trustee, Kate-Louise Stamford noted that some of the information in the memorandum does not apply to the Gambier Local Trust Area the same way it does to other islands. She explained that Keats Island doesn’t currently have any short-term rentals and that changing that policy sounds like more of an Official Community Plan (OCP) question that requires more community engagement.
Regional planning manager Renee Jamurat explained that the LTC could choose not to opt-in to this particular cycle, and opt-in for the next cycle which will come in 2025.
“That will give us time to prepare some analysis and have that ready for the LTC to talk about and have some discussion,” she said.
McCargar clarified that some of the regulations that are part of the legislation are already in place. Using Gambier for an example, “In order to have a short-term vacation rental, you need to have either the residents, the owner of the dwelling or the operator of the short-term vacation rental [living] in the home,” she said. “So already there’s some controls there. And that is the same as the associated islands.”
She added that on Bowyer and Passage Islands, short-term rental is permitted as a home occupation.
Bernardo summarized the points by saying, “There’s no gap that needs to be filled here. There’s a question about whether or not we want to change the current arrangement.”
Gambier Island local trust chair, Peter Luckham said it’s difficult to determine the context for the trust without a housing report, saying it was putting the cart before the horse.
A motion was passed that the Gambier Island LTC declined to opt-in to Section 15 of the short-term rental accommodation changes to B.C. legislation at this time.
The LTC also requested staff to add to the projects list an analysis to enable to LTC to make an informed decision before the opt-in statutory deadline for 2025 and that staff’s analysis make sure of the findings of the Regional Planning Team relevant to this issue.
SCRD Bylaw Referral
In the same meeting, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) reached out the the Gambier LTC, seeking referral comments related to proposed amendments to Zoning Bylaw 722.9 (Electoral Areas B – Halfmoon Bay, D – Roberts Creek, E – Elphinstone, and F – West Howe Sound) and Zoning Bylaw 337.123 (Electoral Area A – Egmont/Pender Harbour).
The proposed amendments aim to protect sensitive ecological areas and implement the board strategic plan’s goal to enhance the region’s resiliency to the effects of climate change.
Bylaw 722.9 and 337.123 amendments have already passed first reading, now referral feedback is being collected at the request of the SCRD board before consideration of second reading.
The main objectives of the proposed amendments include:
- Changing how proposed new lot area is calculated when subdividing land.
- Establishing a buffer from the Stream Protection and Enhancement Area (SPEA)
- Increasing the setbacks from waterbodies and watercourses in Zoning Bylaw 337 to align with Zoning Bylaw 722 and meet provincial best practices.
Stamford – who also sits on the SCRD board – spoke in favour of the amendments, highlighting that these changes are bringing the bylaws in line with what has become the standard setback from the ocean in marine areas.
The committee unanimously voted to request staff to advise the SCRD that the Gambier Island LTC’s interests are not affected by the amendments for bylaw 722.9 and 337.123.
Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.