Debate over short-term rentals in Radium

More than 30 interested individuals come out to Saturday meeting to discuss short-term rental licensing

Radium council received a general consensus on plans to require licenses for short-term rentals when more than 30 residents and secondary homeowners attended an open house on the issue on Saturday, November 16th.

Attendees weren’t thrilled with calling the proposed $100-a-year permission slips ‘business licenses,’ but Mark Read, the Village’s chief administrative officer, said that’s the only name the provincial government will allow them to use.

Participants also raised concerns with a proposed requirement to have owners post their contact information at the entrance to their properties as they felt it could aid thieves in targeting vacant homes.

In response, Mayor Clara Reinhardt said council would re-evaluate how to ensure that those with questions about a rental would be able to reach the owners.

Council’s proposed plan was also to require a local contact person or property manager to be available 24/7 to answer calls and deal with issues that arise. Some residents said they felt having a local contact person was necessary for situations like when guests get locked out or have the wrong unit number.

In contrast, a secondary homeowner from Calgary said it would be ‘impractical’ to hire a property manager and that he could deal with any issues remotely.

“What we want is someone who will answer the phone and say, ‘I hear you and I’m on it’,” said Mayor Reinhardt. She later said council will have a further discussion on whether to require owners to have a local contact.

While one secondary homeowner who makes his place available for short-term rentals felt like the license fee was “a tax grab” from the “rich little town,” another homeowner in the same situation said he felt $100 a year was reasonable.

“You rent your room for one night and you’ve already made a profit,” Mr. Read said about the fee for the license, which is intended to cover administrative costs around managing the short-term rentals.

Council is accepting written submissions on the issue, which will come back to council chambers sometime within the next few months.

Councillor Dale Shudra said, “we’re trying to touch it as lightly as we can and yet regulate it.”

Money for marketing

Tourism Radium’s marketing coffers will be piled up with the Village’s share of funding collected from short-term rentals. Council had two options for the provincially-regulated funding: invest it in tourism efforts or direct it to a shovel-ready housing project. Without a housing project in the works, Mayor Reinhardt said council didn’t have much choice besides handing the funding over to Tourism Radium. She said the 2019 total is modestly estimated at around $40,000. Tourism Radium will receive the short-term rental revenue for 2019 and 2020.

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