Chamber Advocates for STAs

Our advocacy aims to balance regulatory needs with the vital role STAs play in our tourism economy.

Advocacy Efforts for Short-Term Accommodations in Trent Hills

The Trent Hills Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to supporting the vibrant tourism sector that significantly contributes to our local economy. Recently, we presented our concerns and proposals to the council regarding the proposed changes to bylaws affecting Short-Term Accommodations (STAs) where an owner/occupant does not reside on the same lot. Our advocacy aims to balance regulatory needs with the vital role STAs play in our tourism economy. Here are the key points we highlighted:

The Critical Role of STAs in Tourism and Local Economy

  • Impact on Tourism: Eliminating a large portion of STAs due to non-compliance with new bylaws could devastate Trent Hills’ tourism. With tourism being the second-largest economic driver in our community, it’s essential to consider the repercussions of reducing accommodation options.
  • Economic Contributions: STAs not only support direct tourism activities but also significantly contribute to local businesses, including grocery stores, restaurants, breweries, and specialty shops. The 20 annual festivals and events in Trent Hills, which attract visitors nationwide, also benefit from the availability of diverse accommodation options.
  • Marketing Benefits: STAs serve as ambassadors for Trent Hills, promoting local businesses, events, and attractions to visitors even before they arrive. Losing these ambassadors would be a considerable loss from a marketing perspective.

The Need for a Balanced Approach

  • Compliance and Community Growth: We advocate for a solution that addresses irresponsible STA owners without penalizing those contributing positively to the tourism economy. Responsible STA operations are crucial for maintaining neighborhood harmony and ensuring visitors have enjoyable experiences.
  • Housing and Tourism: The suggestion that non-compliant STAs could transition to long-term housing overlooks the complexity of such conversions, particularly regarding affordability and the actual increase in long-term housing stock.

Proposed Solutions for Consideration

  • Regulatory Adjustments: We propose more inclusive regulatory approaches, such as recognizing STAs with a responsible party within a 15-minute drive or those located within Trent Hills.
  • Support for Non-Compliant STAs: Exploring pathways for non-compliant STAs to contribute to workforce housing could offer a dual benefit to the community.
  • Task Force Creation: Given the substantial impact proposed regulations could have on tourism, we suggest the formation of a task force to address these challenges collaboratively.

Moving Forward

Our presentation to the council underscored the importance of STAs in supporting Trent Hills’ economy and community vitality. We urge the council to consider a more balanced approach that supports tourism, addresses housing needs, and ensures compliance with reasonable standards. The Chamber of Commerce remains committed to working alongside the council, local businesses, and our community to foster a thriving, inclusive, and vibrant Trent Hills for everyone.

Your Voice Matters

We encourage all stakeholders to engage in this critical conversation. Your experiences, insights, and suggestions are invaluable as we strive to advocate for policies that support our community’s growth and prosperity.

Submit comments to the Municipality: You may submit comments following the Public Hearing, you may email your comments to planning@trenthills.ca . The Municipality requires these comments in a timely manner to ensure the comments can be reviewed by Planning Staff before they prepare a final recommendation report to Council.

Backgrounder:   The purpose of the municipally-initiated amendments is to update the Municipality’s Comprehensive Zoning By-law to expand upon the existing Bed and Breakfast provisions to support a form of owner-occupied Short Term Accommodations (STAs) as a permitted use. The amendment does not extend legality to whole home STAs where the owner or a responsible host is not a primary resident on the property.

The staff report presented to Council on December 12, 2023 provides background information on the process to date.  https://trenthills.civicweb.net/document/168428/

Watch the public meeting from March 5, 2024 on the Municipality of Trent Hills’ Youtube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unf7HNTfmvQ

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