Council to consider establishing a bylaw to regulate Airbnb operators

Editorial credit: Mr.Whiskey / Shutterstock.com

GORE BAY – Gore Bay council agrees that options need to be considered to police Airbnbs in town, and the establishment of a bylaw for the town will be considered by council. 

At a town general government committee meeting held recently, the committee agreed that it will recommend to council to establish a bylaw for Airbnbs including similar rates to those bed and breakfast businesses operating in the town.  

“Currently there is a bylaw that deals with businesses that have bed and breakfasts and the rates set for water and sewer based on the number of rooms they have available,” Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne told the Recorder after a town government committee meeting.

At a meeting in October, council reviewed the minutes from the town’s previous general government meeting, where the issue of water rates regarding Airbnbs was discussed. Mayor Osborne reported that there are least four Airbnbs in town that he is aware of. The town charges a rate for bed and breakfast businesses but does not currently have a set rate for Airbnbs. And, Airbnbs are not listed in the town’s zoning bylaw but it was agreed this is something that will need to be addressed, as well as policing Airbnbs in town. Staff were requested to look up what the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation assesses properties with Airbnbs and whether they are commercial or residential. 

“Where are we going with this?” asked Councillor Ken Blodgett.

Mayor Osborne said there are bed and breakfast operators in town who pay taxes and costs like water to the town, but there is nothing similar in place for Airbnbs. “These (established) bed and breakfasts are paying these costs and the Airbnbs are not. We need to make this fair for everyone.”

“I agree the Airbnb operators should be paying like everyone else,” said Councillor Blodgett.

“I think this will be batted around for a while before we come up with a decision on what to do,” said Councillor Kevin Woestenenk, who also noted, “whatever decision we make it is going to be difficult to enforce this.”