By John Francis, Bruce Peninsula Press
The Short-Term Accommodation situation in Northern Bruce Peninsula is unfolding slowly, which is a source of annoyance to some stakeholders.
There are complaints on social media that the program is rolling out too slowly and that this penalizes those who registered early and have brought their operations into compliance with the new regulations.
The consultant hired by MNBP estimated that there were approximately 1,200 STAs operating in the municipality in 2021. As of June 12, only 235 of those have registered and another 20 are in the process of registering. It should be noted that an unknown number of property owners have simply removed their properties from the STA market, either to revert to full-time family use or else to rent long-term. An unknown number of properties will not rent until July. But it’s a safe bet that more than 255 properties have been rented so far this year.
Bruce Peninsula Press asked municipal CAO Peggy Van Mierlo-West a few questions about the process. Here are her responses and comments:
“The Municipality did provide free registration in the fall of 2021 to encourage owners to register. The registration process is entirely online hence there is no requirement to travel to the municipal office. The Municipality has advertised about the program through our media outlets and have sent a letter to STA owners within the Municipality as a reminder that all Short Term Accommodations are required to be registered within the Municipality. Bylaw Officers are currently visiting these properties and will commence fining should the owner refuse to register. These fines can include;
• Failure to license — $1,000 per occurrence
• Advertising [an unregistered STA] — $1,000 per occurrence
Should the owner opt to not pay, these fines can be placed on their taxes. A list of fines can be found in By-Law 2021-84.”
Q: What should a resident/cottager do if their neighbour is an unregistered STA? A: “If a resident suspects that there is an unlicensed STA in operation they can contact the Municipal Office or the [STA hotline] 1-855-331-0489.”
Q: How does the process work when a complaint is received? Just because there are twenty people having a huge party does not prove it’s an unlicensed STA. How do you go about this? A: “Staff will review the files and bylaw officials will go and inspect. Part of this is to ensure that the property owner is onsite as this may be a miscommunication between neighbours. However should it be discovered that the property is not licensed they will be fined.