Letter: Endless Repetitive Static on STR’s Is Not Useful

1039

Editor,

I am not at all sure the Publisher’s article in November’s press on STR’s (Short Term Rentals) is helpful in any way.

It goes far afield to Barcelona, Vienna and even Toronto to get comparisons. This does not appear to be rational in our area of ~ 3900 residents that reduces to a few hundred for 8 months of the year.

Municipalities like Kawartha Lakes and Tiny Township would be more relevant to our situation. Their solution was more or less to continue to enforce existing bylaws. Not a totally irrational response for us in that the municipality’s own data revealed essentially no bylaw calls due to STR issues.

Are we following a rather familiar Government protocol in spending taxpayer’s money on problems that have been shown not to exist – we can observe that once started it is often impossible to wind down Government programs – i.e. it took years to stop the windmill program.

Two issues are mentioned as being connected to STR’s that I think need further investigation before being used as a “truth”,

a) Somehow STR’s drastically affect long term rentals. Really? What exactly is this “demand” for long term rentals. Who wants to rent here in the winter when there is essentially no employment or indeed no people? I’m here all winter and the streets are bare. I see no help wanted signs for January. You?

b) Now, this issue of seasonal workers – perhaps there are other solutions? These seasonal workers are paid starvation wages which would no doubt be less if there was no minimum wage. They are dumped on pogy or go back to school when the mob retreats on Labour day. They clean the beds, the toilets, the tables and take out the trash for the tourists. Maybe the solution is to pay them a living wage?

c) Several forward thinking businesses provide housing for their staff- maybe this should be a requirement for a business licence. Maybe the solution should come from the commercials who are making the money – not on the backs of the taxpaying residents who pay over 93% of the municipal taxes?

d) This attempt to divide the populace through statements like “the investors will complain” is odious at best. I observe very few people buying cottages now-a-days at the current high prices to scoop big money on the 8 week tourist season – you just can’t significantly help with a $400,000 mortgage on 8 weeks of rentals. And where does this leave the young couple who only has 2 weeks vacation per year but rents their property out the rest of the time rather than see it go empty? So in the final analysis we are all investors albeit some of us won’t see the gains until our wills are read. Let’s not split hairs.

In sum, less Government involvement means less complexity, less land taxes and more attention paid to the things that really matter in our Township. After all the Township’s own data – obtained after much effort from a resistant Township, shows there were essentially no bylaw infraction calls in the last 3 years due to STR’s. There may be a problem with too many tourists crowding Little Tub, there may be too many people swarming over Flowerpot Island, there may be issues with helicopter noise, the tempo of the area in summer may have forever switched from the quiet retirement community that once was and thus be causing a lot of consternation with some residents – BUT – none of this indicates that further money should be spent on this non-existent problem.

Shut off the spigot now, pay out the “consultants” contracts and use the money to repair some bridges/culverts or shoot some geese?

(But then again – maybe we should hire consultants to determine what to do with the geese problem…maybe some University has an experimental birth control method for them? Or a breeding program that produces undesirable/ugly males or females? Note – this is an attempt at humour, I am not suggesting that a Committee of Council be struck.)

Merry Christmas everyone!

(Maybe you’ll have a Christmas goose in the pot like Tiny Tim?)

Kevin Doyle,

Dorcas Bay