Letter: Short Term Rentals (STRs) and Village Myths


Disappointed to read your massive anti STRs editorial that was basically fueled by village myths. Let’s start with some facts,
a) As you know from the last election campaign the issue of STRs was complaint driven.
b) The Township has finally relinquished the complaint data from the last 3 years on their forum after months of requests by taxpayers.
Complaint Numbers from 2017 to 2019
11 – Fireworks
4 – Garbage
14 – number of people
16 – Noise
8 – Open-air Fire
3 – Dogs at large or dogs left tied up outside
4 – Fouling/septic
9 – Number of vehicles parked in a driveway
3 – Septic
c) As the tourist year is almost over we can divide by 3 to get the numbers on a per year basis.
3.6 – Fireworks
1.3 – Garbage
4.3 – number of people
5.3 – Noise
2.6 – Open Air Fire
1 – Dogs at large or dogs left tied up outside
1.3 – Fouling/septic
3 – Number of vehicles parked in a driveway
1- Septic
d) This is hardly a set of numbers that qualify for $25,000 of our tax dollars to be spent on two young consultants -essentially to consult on a non problem. (And we do need some compliant calls to justify our recently expanded bylaw office.) Let’s stop this immediately, save hard earned tax dollars and work on something that really helps the community instead of fanning a divisive issue that obviously doesn’t exist in Tobermory. Comparisons others have made to Vienna and Barcelona are hardly relevant.
e) Furthermore these numbers don’t reflect cottage owners themselves letting loose on prom night or the fourth of July. I’ve seen several cottage owners letting their dogs run loose and correlation of the fireworks against fireworks permits would negate many.
f) Now the Consultants are trying to convince the Township that there are other reasons to run a program – essentially they want to use this as a planning tool. Wrong! – we have massive experienced Provincial Planning units at our disposal.
g) As they used to say in Consulting – “If you aren’t part of the solution there is always good money to be made in prolonging the problem.”
h) I note a lot of phraseology from areas like Wasaga Beach where they have vastly different situations. We have a small village with a rush season of about 6 weeks that has developed over the last 5 years. Some people don’t like that. Let’s be sure such people aren’t just lashing out at any group as a function of their frustration with change. Change is constant.
i) I noted your statement re “exploding septics”. Now that is hyperbole even for you John. Again, as per the numbers this is myth. The Department of the Environment is here to look after known cases, rare though they may be.
j) You have been badly misinformed. Septics are not designed to “accommodate a family of four for 60 days a year.” The code requires 365 days a year.
k) I see you have noted the rise in cottages prices recently and have rather arbitrarily decided that that is due to renting. Have you considered the general rise in the market in all of Ontario? Secondly, with the price of a basic waterfront cottage going from $190,000 to ~$ 400,000 there is no way people could cover a mortgage and expenses on ~ 6 weeks of rentals a year.
l) Let’s not try to pit the Commercials against the Landholding Taxpayers who pay 93% of the taxes. Except for a few STRs we get nothing from the tourists but heartache. None of us get a million-dollar boat, get to close up shop in October and abscond to the Caribbean until May or get over $50,000 to run a tourist center and now $100,000 per year for a Tourist Manager just as the number of tourists have peaked and are declining….
m) I’ve run out of the number of words the Publisher allows us to put in a letter, so I’ll close with a thought,
Is this issue new? I recall renting many, many different cottages with 4 or 5 other guys starting in the early 70s for scuba diving and the bonfires were as big as the wood we could find, Led Zeppelin blasted across Big Tub with all the power our cassette players had and we drank more beer than water – what has suddenly changed? (The Township reports “new” numbers from snooping on the internet but – what were the numbers before?)
Kevin Doyle,
Dorcas Bay