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Friday, August 30, 2019

Town Creating Strategy For Rental Accommodations In Tobermory

Tobermory | by Claire McCormack  

As more rentals & AirBnBs pop up in Tobermory, the town is looking at regulations.

Photo: Cory Laycock Photography 

Northern Bruce Peninsula is working on a strategy to address concerns about short term accommodations in an area where tourism is rapidly growing.

Town CAO Bill Jones says the municipality is starting to get calls, questions and concerns regarding short term accommodations, "Issues regarding noise, septic systems, capacity, public safety, insufficient parking, and other matters that are being raised by some of our local residents.

It's believed there are about 600 short term accommodation rental operations in the area, and the municipality is working on creating an inventory of them.

"When you look back over the last ten years, but I'd say more specifically over the last six or seven, tourism on the peninsula has grown exponentially," says Jones.

"STAs have been growing in popularity especially with platforms like AirBnB that have really taken off over the last five years," says Jones.

Jones says council has made it a priority to address the issues surrounding short term accommodations and the town just had public meetings on the subject in Lion's Head and Tobermory.

Jones says about 110 people attended with opinions on either side of the issue as well as those who were simply there to learn more about it.

"We recognize what they bring to the area as well, of course, they help provide lodgings for tourists when our typical accommodations like hotels and motels are full."

Right now, the municipality doesn't have a short term accommodation strategy.

Jones says things like rentals and AirBnBs are currently regulated through existing bylaws like noise bylaws, fireworks and fire bylaws.

He says some ideas the town is considering to address complaints are to licence short term accommodations in the same way you would a business, "Set up rules and regulations, and if they don't abide by them, there could be penalties in place that could impact their licence."

Jones says individual bylaws could be created to help with enforcement.

"At this point in time all options are on the table. The consultant that's been retained is looking at everything."

Jones says the website has background information, there's a form where people can post comments which can be seen by everyone, a listing of public meetings and a link to a survey on short term accommodations.

That survey can also be picked up at the municipal office or the libraries in Lion's Head and Tobermory.

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