Opinion: Pincher Creek rental concerns
Are you aware that there are already 20-plus unregulated tourist homes (short-term rentals or STRs) operating in the town of Pincher Creek?
Are you aware that if proposed land-use bylaw No. 1547-AO is approved by council, we could end up losing up to 83 homes and rental units for residents (five per cent of the community’s 1,665 single-detached homes could be approved as Type 2 STRs)?
These would become tourist accommodation, unavailable to residents for long-term rental unless they are willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money each month! Can our community afford this loss of homes and rental units when so many people are looking for a place to live?
It is one thing to allow residents to rent one or more rooms to lodgers (proposed Type 1 STR). It is quite another thing to allow commercial landlords to buy up residential houses and convert them into Type 2 STRs — depleting our limited rental housing supply and creating a devastating impact on available housing in our community.
Regulated STRs are thought to bring economic benefits to a community — but who benefits at the expense of whom? The town may benefit with added commercial tax revenues and licensing. Businesses that cater to tourists, such as restaurants, bars and food stores, may benefit.
But it’s the STR owners, including many who do not even live in our community, who are the real benefactors, taking revenue out of our community! This at the expense of new residents moving to our community who need places to live.
Because most STRs are located in residential areas, our neighbourhoods become fragmented. We no longer have neighbours but a constantly rotating number of strangers. Complaints about safety, traffic, trash, noise and parties become more common. Our community has much to lose if the town doesn’t regulate STRs closely.
Our community needs to ensure that each person and family wanting to reside long term in our community can find a place to live.
The Town of Pincher Creek is hosting a public hearing on Monday, Nov. 14, in council chambers at 962 St. John Ave., at 6 p.m. We urge you to attend; this is your chance to make your voice heard.