Qualicum Beach council to look at regulating short-term rentals

Council will look at options on Oct. 2

A motion to regulate Airbnbs and short-term rentals in Qualicum Beach was carried forward at a Qualicum Beach Town Council on Monday, July 15.

Coun. Scott Harrison put forward the motion, saying it comes after discussions with the Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association and the Chamber of Commerce.

The motion would have council look at regulating short-term rental properties, such as those listed on the home-sharing website Airbnb, where the principal homeowner does not live on-site.

Harrison wants to address what he says is a growing problem in larger communities.

“Companies will buy up properties en masse, and then turn them into unregulated hotels, essentially, with no oversight on the property,” said Harrison. “If the behaviour is going to exist in our community, we just want to make sure some of the worst aspects are held in check.”

Coun. Adam Walker agreed, adding that the Qualicum Beach strategic plan and the Official Community Plan both support regulating short-term rentals.

“I think there very well could be a problem in our community, but I want to make sure we go into this committee of the whole with an open mind and have the staff report show as much information as possible,” said Walker.

Walker also suggested following in Powell River’s footsteps and levying a hotel tax on short-term rentals such as Airbnb. Walker suggested that the proceeds go towards supporting regional affordable housing goals.

Harrison countered this by mentioning Airbnbs already pay into the municipal and regional district tax program.

The issue will be discussed further at a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, Oct. 2.

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