Letter to the editor

Invermere council and planners are asking us (until October 27), should short-term rentals be allowed in R1 and R2 low-density Invermere home areas which comprise a very high percentage of town zoning properties?  

At present in low-density R1 and R2 areas, STRs are not allowed, or are operating illegally. Long-term rentals are permitted when the owner resides full time in 60 per cent of their home. Many of us, myself included, have had long-term rentals (LTRs) to help us with expensive home payments despite the grossly absurd tenant-favoured rental act in B.C.

A huge problem with STRs is the loss of local LTRs. The result would be more resident exodus and fewer local workers, for starters. Then, logically home prices will again escalate to account for the difference of STR money potential (basic marketplace economics), making buying less affordable for locals. And with increased visitor density within Invermere, town residents will all have to pay more taxes for very costly infrastructure updates that STRs will make necessary. So what are the advantages, except to a very few owners? None, unless you’d enjoy a revolving door of unpredictable strangers for neighbours.

Yes, more density in town is probably inevitable, but this should be for the benefit of local full-time residents only, not more STR transient visitors. Our businesses and shortage of local staff can’t adequately serve the massive increasing part-time and tourist visitors now. We have until Friday, Oct. 27 to input our opinions via the online survey. Without your participation, you may get an un-retractable “yes” decision that you don’t want.

Bill Ark, Invermere