Parksville considered dropping its controversial 180-day limit on tourist stays, but decided against it at a recent meeting.
Dropping the limit was one of the first two recommendations from the new, five-member council advisory committee, but committee chair Coun. Al Greir said due to new information, the recommendation should just be received for information, rather than put to a vote.
The limit was first set in 1994 to stop campgrounds from becoming permanent homes. Some Resort Row resorts were included when that area was brought into the city in 1995, explained Greir.
Council discussed which properties are subject to the limits, but could not come up with a definitive list.
The advisory committee said that since not all tourist accommodation properties are subject to the limit, and it has never been enforced, it should be dropped.
The 180-day limit has mostly been an issue since former mayoral candidate Rick Honaizer campaigned on it and then attempted to bring charges of conspiracy against the city, mayor, chief administrative officer “and other unknown conspirators,” for not enforcing bylaws around waterfront access and residency terms.
In January 2012 Judge D. Cowling told Honaizer he was casting too wide a net, but left it open for him to return if he did more research.
“This city, the CAO, the bylaw enforcement officer and you, Mr. Mayor, have not done your job,” Honaizer said during question period at the end of the meeting Dec. 17.
“And we will, if you still keep on refusing to enforce the bylaw, we will go to court again and I will force the city to enforce the bylaw, because that is the law and it’s a criminal act for you and the CAO and the bylaw enforcement officer not to enforce the bylaw,” he continued.
Councillor Bill Neufeld said he was concerned about the advisory committee process itself.
“The approach I have heard from a number of individuals, to put it quite honestly, they look at the exercise as being a sham, a farce, something to be laughed at,” he said, adding that people said the committee had based its decision on information from a single city staff source rather than researching it.
Council unanimously decided to pull the agenda item rather than vote on it — in effect maintaining the status quo.