It's more than one year since the Supreme Court of B.C. ruled in favour of the municipality and its contention that nightly rentals in residentially-zoned areas are illegal. But the problem continues to plague the town.
In a response to several complaints from legal renters, the municipality is now taking increased steps to enforce the zoning bylaw.
Zoning and Parking Bylaw 303 states that property cannot be rented as temporary accommodation if it is not zoned for tourist accommodation.
It is also illegal for homeowners to rent their homes to tourists for fewer than 28 consecutive days.
A recent letter, directed to all private homeowners and property managers who are believed to be breaking the zoning law, outlines Whistler's zoning regulations.
While bylaw officers hope that all offenders comply voluntarily, there are steps that the municipality can take to enforce the law. These include, reviewing business license applications, imposing fines or seeking injunctions in the courts.
In the Supreme Court case against the owners of a Millar's Pond property, Mr. Justice Drost said the owners were contravening the zoning bylaw by renting their house for short-term commercial accommodation.
The owners have since appealed that decision but it has yet to be heard in court.
Until that day, the zoning bylaw is valid and enforceable with the full weight of the provincial Supreme Court
"As well, we must support legitimate operators, who pay the appropriate taxes, obtain the necessary permits, ensure that accommodation meets safety standards and does not adversely impact the surrounding neighbourhood," said Bill Barratt, the general manager of community services, in a recent press release.
To find out if a property is zoned tourist accommodation, people are urged to contact the bylaw services department at 604-935-8280 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org