Municipality of Harrison Park may start regulating short-term rentals

An upcoming debate in the Municipality of Harrison Park could put an end to short-term rentals (STRs) near Riding Mountain National Park.

Towns like Onanole, which borders the park, are home to around 90 STR units and a local councilor wants to impose restrictions on their operations.

On Wednesday, Councilor Craig Atkinson plans to introduce a motion to limit STRs, like AirBnbs, in the area to those with a resident living on site.

“The main reason is their disruptive nature in the community and the fact that it’s against our bylaws,” Atkinson said. “I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to expect in a residential neighborhood.”

Local resident Cindy Shaurette owns the Honeycomb Bed and Breakfast with her husband, which is located just outside the park near Onanole.

This is one of the largest guesthouses in the province with 11 rooms, but also has a smaller suite listed on Airbnb.

“I understand some of people’s concerns,” Shaurette said. “Sometimes there are places just in the residential area where there are a lot of houses where people live all year round, and they have a lot of transients coming in and out and sometimes throwing parties and disrupting their lives. calm.”

However, Shaurette said an increase in visitors can help the local economy and with occupancy rates at full capacity for much of the summer, she wonders if those visitors will just find another place to stay. go.

Atkinson said he doesn’t want an outright ban on STRs and thinks having someone on site who owns or manages the unit during the rental period will reduce the issues raised by his constituents.

“It will take all the hassle out of it, which is what I’m most concerned about, rather than short-term rentals, which are currently not appropriate,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson said the city was split about 70-30% in favor of STR regulations, but noted that not all rentals have complaints.

“It’s kind of sad because I think maybe there were only a few issues with a few Airbnbs and now it’s kind of tainted all of them,” Shaurette said.

From a business perspective, Shaurette said that despite the increase in STRs in the region, her business has not really been affected due to the type of customers she attracts.

As for her STR, she is ready to withdraw her registration, but she did not depend on the income she provided. The same may not be true for other owners.

“I’m more for me to oppose it, so it would be sad if they got rid of it altogether, because I think it’s helped some people who need help, but also brought people to our area and enjoy it and fall in love too,” Shaurette said.

“Bottom line, they’re not in our regulations to be operational,” Atkinson said. “And that would be the first regulation that all of a sudden we had to say, ‘You know what? This one is OK. Don’t care. Who does that as an elective board member?

Harrison Park council is expected to vote on the motion on Wednesday. The immediate effects of the vote are unknown because Atkinson said the process for dealing with non-compliant rentals has yet to be determined.

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