Municipality Of Northern Bruce Peninsula Council Meeting Minutes (Electronic) June 29, 2020 SPECIAL (Short Term Accommodation Recommendation Report)

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MEMBERS PRESENT: Mayor Milt McIver, Deputy Mayor Debbie Myles, Councillor Laurie (Smokey) Golden, Councillor James Mielhausen, Councillor Megan Myles

STAFF PRESENT: Peggy Van Mierlo-West, Chief Administrative Officer, Cathy Addison, Deputy Clerk, Tessa Swanton, Administrative Assistant 

OTHERS PRESENT: Michael Wynia, Skelton Brumwell and Associates 

All members of Council were present in the council chamber and the meeting was held via zoom, an electronic platform, for members of the public to attend. 

DISCLOSURE OF PECUNIARY INTEREST AND GENERAL NATURE THEREOF

Mayor McIver called the meeting to order at 1:02 p.m. and Council members were reminded to disclose any pecuniary interest and the general nature thereof that may arise during the course of the meeting.

Councillor Myles declared a conflict of interest with respect to Agenda Item #1: Short Term Accommodation Recommendation Report “because I own/operate short-term accommodation (hostel / B&B) in the Municipality.”

APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA

Moved by J. Mielhausen Resolution #28-01-2020 Seconded by L. Golden

THAT the content of the agenda be approved as presented. Carried 

ADOPTION OF THE MINUTES

There are no Minutes to adopt for Special Council Meeting No. 20-28, June 29, 2020.

PUBLIC MEETING

There is no Public Meeting for Special Council Meeting No. 20-28, June 29, 2020.

DELEGATION

There is no Delegation for Special Council Meeting No. 20-28, June 29, 2020.

Having declared a conflict of interest, Councillor Myles did not participate in the following portion of the meeting.

CONSIDERATION OF AGENDA ITEMS

1. Skelton Brumwell & Associates 

Update RE: Short Term Accommodation Recommendation Report Comment Matrix

Mayor McIver introduced Michael Wynia from Skelton Brumwell and Associates Inc. as the consultant for the short term accommodations (STA) project. Mr. Wynia introduced Marissa Handley who has also been actively working on the project. The presentation was delivered via zoom. 

Mr. Wynia informed that they received one hundred and thirty (130) comments from the public which were then organized into thirty-six (36) groupings. Following the commenting period from December, 2019 to February, 2020, a draft report was presented to Council that took into account the comments that were received. 

Regarding the nature of the public comments, Mr. Wynia indicated that the most frequent comments included that the licencing costs are too high, clarification is needed on the classification categories, public input needs to continue and more information on the implementation of the STA process is needed. Mr. Wynia explained that there is a large range of STA’s in the Municipality; which range from an individual renting their only cottage a few weeks each year, to an individual owning several STA establishments with high rental volumes throughout the year. He advised that concerns pertaining to the deposit requirements being too high were also noted. Mr. Wynia said that public input will continue and an implementation strategy will be discussed. 

Mr. Wynia presented the three (3) classes: Class A, B and C. He stated that there has been some concern that the classifications are not differentiated enough. In addition to differentiating the classifications, licencing costs and deposit amounts were lowered. Class A permits six (6) occupants per unit, one (1) unit per property, a maximum of twenty-eight (28) nights rented per year and minimum stay of six (6) nights per booking. Class A associated costs: administrative licencing fee of $50.00 annually and no deposit required. 

Class B permits six (6) occupants per unit, two (2) units per property, a maximum of one hundred and eighty (180) nights rented per year and no minimum stay per booking. Class B associated costs: administrative licencing fee of $250.00 annually and a $1500.00 deposit to be maintained on an annual basis.

Class C permits eight (8) occupants per unit, three (3) units per property, no maximum number of nights rented per year and no minimum stay per booking. Class C associated costs: administrative licencing fee of $500.00 annually and a $2500.00 deposit to be maintained on an annual basis.

Mr. Wynia said that he would recommend a gradual approach to implementation where there is a waived fee for licencing during a specific time. He described next steps as obtaining further input on the proposed recommendations from staff and Council, develop a zoning by-law amendment to recognize the permission and provisions for STA’s and develop a licencing by-law. Mr. Wynia informed that the current zoning by-law does not recognize STA’s and the general rule in regard to zoning by-laws is that if a use is not listed as permitted, then it is prohibited.

My. Wynia mentioned that the zoning by-law needs to be amended even if Council does not decide to licence STA’s. In terms of a timeline, Mr. Wynia recommended that Council make a decision on the recommendations report this summer in order for the regulations to be implemented this fall. 

The consultant recommended that Council implement a licencing by-law and amend the zoning by-law. 

In response to a request for clarification from Mayor McIver, Mr. Wynia explained that a “unit” is defined as each section that is being rented; multiple units can exist within one dwelling or structure. Mr. Wynia also indicated that Class C permits three (3) units to be rented per property, which could include accessory structures or a unit above a detached garage. Although, Council can determine if all units are required to be within one structure. 

Mayor McIver asked Mr. Wynia to elaborate on the deposit requirement. Mr. Wynia said that correct information would have to be provided on the licencing application form from the property owner(s) as well as the applicable deposit submitted for the corresponding Class A, B or C. Further, the deposit remains and has to be renewed annually. If a complaint is filed against an STA property, then staff determine if the complaint is valid. If valid, an investigation commences. Once an investigation is launched, then an administrative fee is deducted from the deposit. Once all funds are deducted from a deposit as a result of complaints, then the licence may be withdrawn from the owner(s). 

Mayor McIver questioned if there are any other methods that can be used instead of deposits. Mr. Wynia stated that the removal of a licence is an option; however, the goal is to resolve complaints. 

Mr. Wynia indicated that there is the option for a smaller deposit requirement with more frequent top-up payments. In this case, he suggested a threshold where the licence is then removed. He noted that licence removals can be appealed to Council. 

Councillor Golden stated that she is in favour of a gradual implementation process as STA owner(s) have had a difficult year and some have experienced a loss of income due to Covid-19. She also said that Class C is not as pertinent in our area and may not be relevant. She recommended that STA’s be registered accompanying a flat fee consistent across all classifications. Councillor Golden said that once applications are received and reviewed, then Council can better determine what classifications are warranted. She suggested the licensing fee be fair, around $200.00.

In response, Mr. Wynia informed that some classifications are rarely used, but still valid. He also stated that if the same rules are applied to each classification, then that may be unfair to the smaller operators.

Councillor Golden stated that Class C STA’s are more of a commercial operation as they permit twenty-four (24) people on the property and three (3) units. She said that the majority of STA’s will register as Class B. Councillor Mielhausen recommended that Class C STA’s be required to complete a sewage system inspection. 

Mr. Wynia recommended that a draft licensing by-law and zoning by-law be prepared for Council’s review. Following the review, then details and amendments can be made to the draft documents. 

Mr. Wynia said that enforcement should be the last tool. He acknowledged that it has been a tough year for STA owner(s) and suggested that the deposit system be implemented in a gradual process.

Councillor Golden emphasized the importance of STA’s to tourism in the area and asked for the licencing costs to be reasonable. 

Mayor McIver noted that Council will have to decide if a municipal accommodation tax will be implemented.

Mr. Wynia advised that he will work with Peggy Van Mierlo-West, CAO, to develop the next steps for the project. He informed that the STA website is still available for public input.

Mayor McIver indicated that the public will have further opportunity for public input and a timeline will be established. The CAO advised that a report will be presented at the July 13, 2020 Council Meeting relating to the project plan moving forward. 

Councillor Golden asked if the zoning by-law requires updating to recognize STA’s prior to the licencing by-law being finalized. Mr. Wynia informed that the zoning by-law is independent from the licencing by-law. He said that the zoning by-law can be amended as simply as and stating that “STA’s are permitted if they have a licence from the Municipality”, or similar. 

Mayor McIver brought up the concept of permitting STA’s in certain zones only. Ms. Van Mierlo-West noted that this can be discussed in the future.

Mr. Wynia said that it may take around three (3) months to update the zoning by-law. 

Mayor McIver thanked Mr. Wynia for his report and presentation to staff and Council. He advised that the public will be updated on July 13, 2020 at the next Council Meeting where the CAO will present a report.

Moved by D. Myles Resolution #28-04-2020 Seconded by L. Golden

THAT Council receives a report from Michael Wynia of Skelton Brumwell & Associates Inc. in regard to short term accommodations (STA’s), as information. Carried

Councillor Myles resumed participation in the meeting at this time.

OTHER BUSINESS

Councillor Golden informed that this past weekend she was at Dunks Bay Beach on Saturday and observed that social distancing was being followed, families were mostly in the water and people were both respectful and obeying rules.

Councillor Mielhausen indicated that he was in Lion’s Head and noted that there were no issues found. 

Mayor McIver advised that he was at Little Cove on Sunday and it was busy, Dunks Bay was good and Tobermory was not as busy as previous weekends. He mentioned that the parking lot at the Community Centre was not full and Black Creek Provincial Park (Sandy Beach) was manageable.

Mayor McIver noted that he has a conference call this afternoon with Dr. 

Ian Arra from the Grey Bruce Health Unit and that there has been some concern from some local businesses regarding the establishment of a requirement for individuals to wear facemasks. Councillor Golden said that Peacock’s Foodland in Tobermory is requiring facemasks prior to entering and some other businesses have also made this a mandatory requirement. Mayor McIver confirmed that Dr. Arra is not recommending that facemasks become a requirement, at this time. 

Ms. Van Mierlo-West said that if facemasks were to become mandatory in the Municipality, then more bylaw staff would be needed in order to enforce this regulation. Councillor Myles stated that masks are more encouraged to be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible.

Mayor McIver mentioned that the Municipality needs to meet with Ontario Parks regarding the Lion’s Head Provincial Park issues. He noted that if possible, the Municipality could create a parking lot and charge for parking. Councillor Myles said that Ontario Parks has been somewhat of an absent landlord and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and a long-term plan should be in place. She suggested that the Lion’s Head Provincial Park, White Bluff and Black Creek Provincial Park should all be discussed. 

Councillor Golden inquired if the paid parking machines are operational. The CAO advised that they are working on the machines today as there were some issues with the batteries. Councillor Myles asked if the paid parking app is active. Ms. Van Mierlo-West said that the paid parking app would limit the number of people touching the parking machine surfaces. The CAO informed that the app is not working at this time, but they are in contact with the supplier. Councillor Golden asked if the Harbour students could be tasked with cleaning the machines. Councillor Myles suggested that hand sanitizer be mounted to the machines or around Tobermory. The CAO said that she could discuss this at the next Management Meeting.

Councillor Myles asked if there is a reopening plan in place for Municipal facilities and committees. Cathy Addison, Deputy Clerk, advised that there are some closures mandated by the Province, such as museums, playground and exercise equipment. Municipal closures include the Municipal office, Rotary Hall, community centres and a number of other Municipal facilities. 

Ms. Van Mierlo-West said that social distancing is not possible in the front reception area at the Municipal office. She indicated that she had tasked staff with obtaining quotes for the construction of a customer service window which would limit the public to entering the hallway only. She said that funds have been incorporated into the budget and this provides a safety barrier between staff the public. The CAO indicated that other offices in the County of Bruce are also still closed to the public. She said that residents understand that full services are still being provided. 

CORRESPONDENCE

There is no Correspondence for Special Council Meeting No. 20-28, June 29, 2020.

READING OF BY-LAWS

Moved by J. Mielhausen Resolution #28-03-2020 Seconded by D. Myles 

THAT the following listed by-laws be given 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading and enacted:

2020-67 BEING A BY-LAW TO CONFIRM THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING OF THE CORPORATION OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF NORTHERN BRUCE PENINSULA HELD MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2020. Carried

CLOSED SESSION

Moved by M. Myles Resolution #28-04-2020 Seconded by J. Mielhausen 

THAT Council move into closed meeting at 2:16 p.m. pursuant to Section 239 of The Municipal Act, 2001, as amended, for the following reasons: b) personal matters about an identifiable individual including municipal or local board members (Personnel). Carried

RECONVENE FROM “CLOSED SESSION” TO RESUME COUNCIL MEETING

Moved by Councillor Golden Resolution #28-05-2020 Seconded by Councillor Myles 

THAT Council reconvenes from “Closed Session” at 2:37 p.m. and resumes the Council meeting. Carried

ADJOURNMENT 

Moved by Councillor Mielhausen Resolution #28-06-2020 Seconded by Councillor Myles 

THAT the meeting adjourns at 2:37 p.m. Carried