Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of November 28th

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My heart goes out to the family and friends that lost these lovely young ladies. As the mother of two students attending UBC who travel the highway as passengers and drivers with their friends, I feel that I should speak up.

This tragedy is too sad to repeat for any family. Isn't it time "The Killer Highway" lost its title?

Cathy Jewett

Whistler

Illegal nightly rentals a nightmare

As the owner of a legally zoned tourist accommodation property in the resort of Whistler, I, like many other homeowners who have this zoning privilege continue to be frustrated that there are many Whistler homeowners who still consider themselves above the local bylaws and rent out their homes on a nightly basis without the appropriate zoning.

This has been a source of contention within the resort for over 15 years and still the municipality is dragging its feet. Why?

Hotels, pensions, B&Bs and rental property management companies are losing out on potential bookings and second homeowners, particularly of condos/townhomes in the resort, are finding it difficult to cover their overheads. As a result, these investment properties are now less attractive for a buyer and, as a result, have seen huge declines in property values.

Like me, all these establishments pay for the privilege of having nightly zoning and contribute to both Tourism Whistler and the municipality. Whilst guests of these illegal rental homes are bringing income to the resort, the owners are not contributing and sucking the system dry. It is wrong and unfair and makes a mockery of why the zoning is even in place if the municipality doesn't choose to enforce it.

Sadly the events over last weekend at Tyndall Stone Lodge also reinforces the fact that fire and safety should be of utmost priority of visiting guests to the municipality. Some of these illegal rentals are original old cabins with perhaps no safety precautions in place, not to mention old wiring.

The sites of Airbnb.com, Homeaway/VRBO, Ownerdirect and Alluradirect all have illegal properties featured on their sites.

To cover themselves, these companies have now made it a pre-requisite that all applicant listings are required to sign a confirmation that they comply with the local bylaws allowing nightly rental accommodation. This means, that all of these homeowners have (allegedly) provided false declarations.

Through extensive research over the last couple of months, a lot of driving around and then checking on zonings, I have compiled 40 offenders (and there are more) whose addresses and information have now been submitted to the bylaw department. The homework has been done for free, so take this and use it!