Letter: Share Concerns of Commercial Accommodations Masquerading As Mere Cottages

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Taken from the north on Dorcas Bay Road from about a half kilometer away, this building towers over not only neighbouring properties, but also the tree cover.

The letter from Dr. Phillip Harrison in Issue #14 decries the proliferation of commercial STA operations in the Bruce Peninsula, and points to the massive purpose built STA premises under construction on Dorcas Bay Rd as an example. We have owned a seasonal cottage on Borden Avenue since 2000; we do not rent it out. We share Dr. Harrison’s concern that the increase in commercial accommodations masquerading as mere cottages (in effect, “ghost hotels”). We too see a significant risk that the Bruce Peninsula will lose it’s natural beauty and charm, and will result in increasing property values that will turn the Bruce into another Muskoka.
In particular, we are amazed and saddened that the Municipality has approved the construction of a large structure that is in effect a commercial operation in an area zoned for a “cottage dwelling”. We also question whether this structure conforms to the 10 meter height limit in the Zoning By-law. As can be seen in the attached photo, taken from the north on Dorcas Bay Road from about a half kilometer away, the building towers over not only neighbouring properties, but also the tree cover. And the full roof was not yet installed when the photo was taken.
We recognize that for many cottage owners, short term rentals are a means of extra income, and we have no issue with this. Nor do we object to someone buying a neighbouring cottage and renting it full-time. However, we strongly believe that commercial accommodations should be restricted to the appropriate zones, and subject to all applicable rules and regulations. And, we are adamantly opposed to the type of commercial operation exemplified by the construction underway on Dorcas Bay Road.
We also encourage everyone to participate in the Municipality’s on-line survey.
We noticed that s. 4.4.1 of the Zoning By-law gives the Municipality, at the insistence of any citizen of the Municipality, authority to restrain any building that contravenes the By-law.
Patrick and Mary O’Rourke
Borden Drive and Stratford