Ucluelet's district office is putting a plan in place to find and fine unlicenced vacation rentals.

Ucluelet's district office is putting a plan in place to find and fine unlicenced vacation rentals.

Ucluelet focused on illegal vacation rentals

“I think there’s people that are renting out that may not realize, or be fully aware, that they should have a licence."

Ucluelet is following in its neighbours footsteps and cracking down on unlicenced vacation rentals.

The district is working on a three-pronged funding approach to a new bylaw enforcement program that will see business licence fees, property taxes and small craft harbour funds go towards paying a full-time bylaw officer’s salary this year.

The district has drawn up a bylaw enforcement strategy, which Ucluelet’s municipal council rolled out during a public meeting last week, that identifies the bylaw officer’s top priorities in three tiers.

The top tier involves pursuing illegal short term rentals and conducting regular business licence inspections to ensure everyone working in town is licenced to do so.

The second tier involves typical summer woes like illegal camping and public drinking, and the third tier involves neighbourly concerns like noise complaints, unkempt properties and animal control.

Ucluelet’s CAO Andrew Yeates explained the strategy will be “fluid” and the bylaw officer will shift focuses as needed.

The strategy also states the district will not wait for complaints to enforce its bylaws, as has been the practice in the past, and will instead take a proactive approach towards enforcement with the bylaw officer seeking out infractions.

Coun. Marilyn McEwen said Ucluelet has signed onto the same HostCompliance web-based software that Tofino is using to make sure every local property being advertised as an accommodations online has a business licence.

Mayor Dianne St. Jacques noted bed and breakfasts are permitted in residential homes and suggested council has no desire to axe that allowable use, but rather to ensure all proper licences are in place.

“It’s a very difficult issue because, you can understand, if a young family has a house and they want to rent out a room, you can see financially, it’s better for them to rent out nightly than monthly,” she said.

“It’s about finding a balance and giving people good reason to want to rent monthly versus nightly. Because you can really see why folks do it.”

She added any residence being used as a short term rental, must have a homeowner or caretaker living onsite full-time.

“We learned that from Tofino 15-20 years ago,” she said.

“They were having so many problems. You look around at other municipalities and try and learn and every other house is an empty-house-vacation-rental, so people didn’t know their neighbours and they lost their volunteer core base and that type of thing. So, we realized way back then, we didn’t want that. As a community we need to have our volunteers; we need to know who our neighbours are.”

Coun. Mayco Noel said vacation rentals are hard for local homeowners to do without.

“The fact is, it’s not cheap to live in Ucluelet,” he said. “If you have a suite, or the ability to make a suite quite easily, there’s a high likelihood you’re going to do a nightly rental. Not necessarily for 12 months of the year, but you may just take advantage of that peak season.”

Ucluelet local Laurie Skene suggested the district send notifications to homeowners to let them know business licences are needed to rent out rooms before the bylaw officer starts cracking down on them.

“I think there’s people that are renting out that may not realize, or be fully aware, that they should have a licence,” she said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Hotel Zed Tofino. (Westerly file photo)
Two Tofino businesses up for building awards

14th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Most Read