Fed-up cottagers target short-term rentals
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | October 5, 2017|
A Lake Kashagawigamog Organization complaint to Minden Hills council – that people and corporations are providing short-term rentals of lakefront properties contrary to bylaws – won’t be dealt with, at least for now.
In a letter dated to council late this summer, Gary Wiles, president of the organization, said they had two concerns. The first is the potential for overuse of septic systems installed for private family dwellings. The second, improper shoreline alterations, such as docking, to make the units more renter-friendly.
“Many of these ‘cottages,’ most of which are two to four bedroom units, are being advertised on cottage rental sites as having capacities of 12 to 18 people,” Wiles said.
“It appears this practice started many years ago with people renting out their cottage for a couple of weeks to help with expenses but has now morphed into many cottages on the lake existing solely for the rental income potential,” he said.
Wiles said the organization thinks most people don’t know about municipal bylaws and the risk to the lake, and called for a public education piece by council.
He said if it’s allowed to continue unchecked, with sites such as Airbnb, the potential effects on lake health “will be difficult if not impossible to reverse.”
The item was addressed at Minden Hills’ regular council meeting Sept. 28 by way of council accepting it as information only.
Reeve Brent Devolin said once the County of Haliburton Official Plan is approved, Minden Hills will be having a zoning and land use conversation. He said short-term rentals are one of about a dozen topics that will be discussed.
He said it was an “unbelievably complicated” area of planning, however, “in the next year, it will be part of some serious conversation.”
Councillor Pam Sayne said it should be on the planning and development department and committee’s radar.
Devolin, agreed, and said, “I expect most interest groups are going to weigh heavily in [on this], including the cottage associations.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.