This article originally appeared in our Jan. 12 City Council Minute newsletter that recapped the regular council meeting on Jan. 9. Sign up for our newsletter to get future council updates and more straight to your mailbox.
When discussing the impacts of Bill 35 and changes to short-term rental (STR) operations throughout the province, staff member Paul Simon clarified how Revelstoke’s municipal standing applied for various aspects of the new bill.
Provincial work on the registration platform for STR businesses is in progress and select municipalities who already have business licensing schemes that relate to STR businesses. Revelstoke is one such municipality and city staff have been working with the province to help create support for local enforcement needs once the platform rolls out.
A requirement that STRs be a principal residence of the owner operating the STR does not currently apply to Revelstoke, and council will have the option to opt into that part of the legislation. Simon cautioned that opting in would limit all other regulations Revelstoke develops to only be stricter than ones set by the province.
Municipalities with the option to opt in can also opt out at a predetermined later time, and then opt in once again. Simon pointed at that as a potential stressor for STR owners as rules shifted annually under them.
Due to the potential to opt in, continued work with the province on the registration platform and further discussions regarding what impacts opting in would have on Revelstoke, including businesses and tourism numbers, Simon recommended a scheduled revisiting of STR regulations be deferred until October. Along with the need to clarify zoning with the comprehensive re-write project taking staff time, Simon said reworking on zoning while also working on new STR zoning could create community confusion. He also noted that while Feb. 29 is the deadline to opt into the principal residency requirement, that opportunity would be given to municipalities again in the following year.
“To be quite frank, there is no way we will fully understand the consequences [of Bill 35] by February 20th. It’s just not feasible.”
Council voted unanimously to defer a review of existing short term rental regulations until October and that a report of new provincial regulations regarding STRs and impact on Revelstoke be scheduled for October.