By Steve Hubrecht
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The village of Radium Hot Springs is coming closer to creating a bylaw dealing with short term rentals units (STRs), such as those offered through online platforms Airbnb and Vrbo, and the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) will begin formally looking at the issue soon, but the district of Invermere has no similar plans, at least not yet.

Radium’s draft bylaw dealing with STRs has been almost two years in the works. The RDEK’s plans to form some sort of policy or procedure on STRs stem from ad hoc work begun by RDEK Area F directors Susan Clovechok in December 2019. However, during their Tuesday, Oct. 13 council meeting, Invermere council members voiced their opinion that, for now, they are content to sit back and see how other local municipal efforts to regulate STRs pan out before they wade into the fray themselves.

Invermere resident John Rouse raised the issue during the meeting, the second time in as many months that council has been asked about its approach — or whether it has plans to develop an approach — to STRs.

“We have not set it as a priority as of yet,” Invermere mayor Al Miller told Rouse, adding council members know it is an important issue, and that Invermere will need to deal with it at some point, but council feels it is better to see how Radium and the RDEK approach regulating STRs, so Invermere can act in concert with them, resulting in a more consistent solution across the board.

Invermere councillor Gerry Taft noted that the method Radium is proposing involves using business licenses to regulate STRs, which is something the RDEK and most other regional districts in B.C. can’t do since they are not able to issue business licenses. He added that Revelstoke tried to use rezoning as a way to regulate STRs, but that this lead to conflict for residents in that municipality.

“Invermere has kind of taken a backseat (compared with Radium and the RDEK)… in order to look and see what makes senses here,” said Taft.