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Petition calls to pause ‘overly restrictive’ West Nipissing rental by-law

Proposed short-term rental by-law should be reconsidered, petition states
West Nipissing council has plans to pass a new short term rental by-law, but some residents want councilors to postpone a final decision / File photo David Briggs

Some West Nipissing residents want council to halt the short-term rental by-law.

The by-law, which municipal council and staff have been working on since last September, is near completion. Council expected to have a final discussion at the next council meeting on April 2, and most-likely vote to create a by-law, which would govern short-term rental operators and operations within the municipality.

See: West Nipissing close to passing short term rental by-law

Roch Pellerin, who operates a short-term rental in West Nipissing feels the by-law is placing too many restrictions on operators. His petition calls for councillors to vote against the “overly restrictive” by-law, or at the very least, delay the vote until more public consultation can occur.

 “I’m going from door to door,” with the petition, Pellerin said, and dropping them off at stores and restaurants throughout town. So far, the petition is nearing 400 signatures.

Pellerin cautions that the proposed by-law will discourage operators from renting, which will hurt the tourism industry in the area. He also worried that the by-law, once passed, would add extra strain – and cost – to the municipal by-law department, as more enforcement would be required to ensure compliance.

As drafted, the by-law will require all operators to acquire an annual licence. The first year will cost $750, and $250 to renew. Only 100 licences will be granted, although council said it would be willing to renegotiate that number, as the by-law, if passed, will be reviewed annually, and altered if needed.

The petition wants more discussion, and further public consultation, sooner rather than later, before the draft is voted into law. Council held a public meeting on October 19, and hosted a survey on the municipal website to hear feedback from residents on the issue.

About 15 people attended the public meeting, and 57 residents completed the survey, which for Pellerin, is not enough input to create such a by-law.

See: West Nipissing could limit licenses for short term rentals

Pellerin said he could agree with a required licencing fee but has issues with everything else within the draft by-law, which can be found on the municipality’s website. “All the other restrictions should be scrapped,” he emphasized, “lots of people have been complaining” about what he calls an “overly restrictive” proposed by-law.

Hence the petition, which you may see around Sturgeon Falls and the surrounding area. Pellerin plans to gather signatures and present the petition to the Municipal Clerk today, so the information can be presented at the next council meeting on April 2.

However, the petition remains a work in progress, and those interested in signing the petition can also reach Pellerin at [email protected].

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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