A group of concerned and frustrated West Kelowna residents have launched a petition that asks that the city keep short term rentals illegal. File photo

West Kelowna residents launch petition to keep short term rentals illegal

City councillor Rick de Jong said he receives multiple emails a week from concerned residents

A group of concerned and frustrated West Kelowna residents have launched a petition asking that the city keep short-term rentals illegal, as talks of licensing these spaces continue to garner traction.

“Some residents have been going door to door in different neighbourhoods talking to people about this problem,” the group wrote in an email to West K News.

“They have had an overwhelming response in support of keeping short-term rentals prohibited. Many people have been having this same experience, complained to city officials and nothing changes.”

Under the City of West Kelowna’s bylaw, vacation rentals — “other than bed and breakfast uses, agri-tourism accommodations, and the use of resort apartments and resort townhouses” — are prohibited in every zone.

“Mayor and council of West Kelowna are considering licensing these short-term rentals because bylaw enforcement does not have the manpower to monitor these homes,” the group wrote.

READ MORE: West Kelowna short-term rental regulations could change soon

Mark Koch, the director of development services at the City of West Kelowna, oversees bylaw services and said the department understands the group’s frustration.

“We get that, and we look forward to having that discussion at a policy level as to where council wants to go with it.”

He noted that while resources are limited, bylaw services are doing what they can to address the complaints.

“I can certainly say that compliance issues as they relate to short-term rentals within the community have very much been addressed. Tickets have been issued in a number of instances,” he said.

City of West Kelowna councillor Rick de Jong said he receives multiple emails a week from concerned residents, and that he supports the group’s cause and efforts.

“Having had a short-term rental for a period of time beside my residence, I can sympathize and understand their concerns…,” said de Jong. “They can be problematic if the owner of the residence isn’t present to maintain order in the household.”

READ MORE: B.C. sets limits on number of guests, visitors in vacation rentals, houseboats

He applauds residents who are taking matters into their own hands.

“They’re getting there out there and having their voices heard, and running a petition. That takes a lot of work, energy, dedication and commitment. I recognize that,” he said.

A decision on the fate of short-term rentals will be made in late August, and while he isn’t sure where council as a whole stands on the issue, de Jong said he’d like to see property owners present during rentals if these operations are legalized.

“Whatever direction council comes up with, I certainly as a member of the table will be encouraging some sort of moderation — where homeownership and responsibility of that homeowner to mitigate those impacts in the local neighbourhood is going to be required,” he said.

Anyone interested in viewing the city’s zoning bylaw can do so here. The petition can be found at https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/city-of-west-kelowna-short-term-rentals.html.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca


@aaron_hemens
aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Crews in Summerland film Christmas parade in July

Filming, on July 31, took place during the hottest days of 2020

Two people die in outdoor shower, in Tulameen

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

UPDATE: More personnel at Dry Lake fire, 43 properties remain under evacuation alert

Wildfire has been burning out of control north of Princeton for three days

Princeton man faces charges after allegedly receiving ‘drunk driving’ lesson

The incident happened in the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 1

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Two people die in outdoor shower, in Tulameen

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Senior ‘seriously injured’ after Kelowna bus crash

A Ford E350 van collided with a BC Transit Bus on KLO Road on Friday, July 31

New North Okanagan fire hall breaks ground

Groundwork is on tap for a new community firehall. Site works are… Continue reading

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

VIDEO: Wildfire erupts north of Sicamous above Shuswap Lake

Observers suspect fireworks sparked blaze, Wildfire BC states cause still unknown

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Most Read