The new County of Haliburton council did not pass a short-term rental bylaw at its Jan. 26 meeting, but did indicate they would like to find some consistent rules and regulations at the County level, and then have the municipalities take over running the program.
Director of planning, Steve Stone, reminded councillors of the work that had been done to date.
He said the project was initiated in the summer of 2022 when consultants, J.L. Richards and Associates talked to community members and looked at what other townships are doing. They then presented two final draft bylaws to council. The first dealt with registering short-term rentals, “a fact-finding mission to see how many business operators wanted to register their short-term rental businesses with the County,” Stone said. He added while the consultant recommended three to four months for registration, a year made more sense for all-season rentals. The County would then transition to a licensing bylaw.
“If you have a short-term rental bylaw system, you’ll certainly have to have a lot of consistency with the area municipalities,” he added.
Coun. Murray Fearrey, speaking for the first time on his views of the bylaws, said, “I can definitely see the advantage of us as a County council developing a common theme that we bring back to the municipalities.
implement the bylaw…municipalities are already doing this. Why in the world would we want to do it from the County when we’ve got our feet on the ground right in the municipalities. We’re checking the number of bedrooms, we’re checking the sewage system, the building inspectors are in the area.” He added, “let’s keep it as simple and enforceable as we can.”
Coun. Bob Carter agreed with Fearrey that the, “ideal situation would be for us to agree to a set of rules, regulations, and then we adopt them in each one of our municipalities.”
Stone said they could look at a high-level licensing bylaw application administered by the County, but with the onus on shortterm rental operators to supply proof of compliance with things such as a certificate to say their rental complies with the building code, meets fire department requirements, and a letter from a septic hauler about regular pump-outs, for example. He added there could be a fee for service.
After a lengthy discussion, council opted to hold a special meeting on Feb. 27 to continue working on the file.