This Metchosin Cottage was listed on Airbnb. The District of Metchosin in hosting a public workshop on Jan. 9 to brainstorm ideas on how to regulate the industry. (Airbnb photo)

Metchosin takes aim at short-term vacation rentals

District to host public workshop in the new year

The District of Metchosin is taking aim at short-term vacation rentals such as AirBnbs with hopes of regulating the industry in the new year.

On Jan. 9, the District will host a public workshop where staff, mayor and councillors, and residents can brainstorm options and ideas about regulating the industry.

“It’s something that we certainly are aware of and need to come up with regulations for it,” said Coun. Bob Gramigna.

“It is becoming an issue here in Metchosin that we need to deal with and I certainly intend to do that.”

According to a staff report, there were 17 properties in Metchosin listed on AirBnB and Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO) in August and 16 in November. Units were a mix of houses, suites, rooms and detached suites.

But in recent months, short-term vacation rentals have drawn concerns from residents.

Some have said large groups or multiple families who have rented the dwellings have not been respectful of neighbours, having evening parties, music and games.

Residents have also expressed concern about parking issues due to multiple families renting a unit, a change in the character of the neighbourhood when it is occupied by the vacationing public rather than long-term residents, and groups leaving garbage out that attracts bears.

On the flip side, some residents have said short-term vacation rentals help supplement their income to allow them to afford their house in an increasingly unaffordable market.

Currently, the District does not have a policy regarding short-term vacation rentals, but it does have the ability to regulate them through zoning, by allowing or prohibiting land uses in different zones, requiring them to have businesses licences or through nuisance bylaws.

RELATED: Victoria cracks down on short-term rentals

The issue of short-term vacation rentals has been a hot-button issues throughout the Capital Region in recent months.

In September, the City of Victoria removed transient accommodation as a land use for downtown properties. It is currently in the process of creating a rental framework, with proposed licensing fees of between $200 to $2,500 for those who list properties as short-term vacation rentals.

Metchosin’s workshop will take place on Jan. 9 at 1 p.m.

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

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