Sunshine Coast community limits short-term rentals

AirBnBs and other vacation rental suites will be significantly reduced next year in Sechelt, British Columbia, after the District Council voted to limit the number of licenses for short-term rentals.

Sechelt is a popular tourist destination on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. The latest Statistics Canada data, collected in 2021, estimates that more than 10,800 people live there full-time.

Mayor Darnelda Siegers said they are trying to balance tourism with the needs of those who live in Sechelt year-round.

“We were hearing loud and clear from the community that we needed to deal with short term rentals in the community as they were seeing the fit and vibe of their neighborhoods being impacted,” she said. to Gloria Macarenko, CBC host. On the coast.

The district will only issue short-term rental licenses to 15 operators. At present, there are around 50, which means most will lose their right to rent their properties.

The change comes to the chagrin of Erin Frizzell, a Vancouver resident who owns property in Sechelt.

Frizzell and his family visit the property once a month, but when they’re not there, they open it up to tenants.

She said she’s put all of her savings into buying a cabin in Sechelt, a community she hopes to live in full-time eventually.

“We don’t own anything in town. That’s all,” she said.

“It’s our dream to raise our daughter there and eventually retire on the Sunshine Coast to a community we love. But in order for us to do that, we had to have rentals there to compensate. [the mortgage].”

Mayor Darnelda Siegers said the new rules consider the impact on tourism while meeting the needs of full-time residents. (Submitted by Jocelyn Hewson)

Frizzell blames revelers at other rental sites for the poor packaging the operators got.

Sieger notes that on one block there are three properties that have been deemed “party houses”.

“The community doesn’t like it. They don’t feel like they can actually live in their community and enjoy their community because they always have these strangers coming in and out.”

Three categories of short-term rentals have been identified, and each will be controlled differently. Those who live in a house and rent a suite will not be restricted, nor will those who are on the property and rent a shed or outbuilding, as long as the owner is there.

Secondary residences will be limited.

Siegers said there was not enough data to clarify whether the 50 short-term rentals are second homes.

She said licenses will arrive in January, when staff will issue licenses based on parking, garbage and other requirements, but also seek feedback from neighbors on how their tenants have affected the area.

“Everyone says they run a great facility. Who’s going to tell us? They’ll be your neighbors.”

Sechelt, a small town on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, is a popular vacation spot. (Google Maps)

Siegers acknowledged the effect this could have on tourism in the area, but said the safety and enjoyment of those who live there come first.

“The community has said pretty loud and clear that we need to get this under control in Sechelt. They don’t like what’s going on, and it’s our attempt to meet the needs of the community as a whole.”

Frizzell said she hopes the district might reconsider allowing short-term rental operators who are already in the community and acting responsibly and respectfully to be allowed to continue renting under a any inherited agreement.

“We want everyone to operate a chalet as responsibly as we do, to be a good neighbor and to allow people to come and visit the area and enjoy this space with respect.”

On the coast9:33How the Sechelt District Limits Short-Term Rentals

Sechelt District Mayor Darnelda Siegers explains the municipality’s decision to limit short-term rentals.

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