West Kelowna’s plan to legalize 'party houses' a 'terrible' idea: critic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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West Kelowna’s plan to legalize 'party houses' a 'terrible' idea: critic

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February 23, 2021 - 6:30 AM

Sabina Zerwes is ready to get out her picket signs and get back into her war against party houses in West Kelowna.

She wasn’t happy when told by iNFOnews.ca that the city’s plan for licencing short term rentals will limit them to single-family homes, often with the whole house being rented out.

“If the homeowners only want to rent out a room in the summertime and make a couple of bucks and they (the city) are watching them, like a bed and breakfast, that’s fine,” Zerwes said today, Feb. 22. “But, whole homes? Oh my goodness, that’s bad. That’s really bad. That’s very bad.

“I can just see myself again, getting my little signs up and demonstrating. Oh, my goodness. This is terrible.”

Last summer, Zerwes got most of the residents in her neighbourhood to sign a petition against houses rented illegally to tourists who often liked to party late into the night.

READ MORE: Residents demand West Kelowna finally take action against illegal rentals

At that time, she had three neighbours with such houses on Pinot Gris Drive where she lives. Now, one is for sale and another has a young family living in it so things have been quieter.

Back then, and still today, it’s illegal to rent homes as short term rentals in West Kelowna but the city is taking bylaw proposals to council tonight to change that.

The plan is to allow major and minor short term rentals in single-family homes only. Houses with secondary suites or carriage houses are not included.

If approved, minor rentals will be places that run in a similar fashion to bed and breakfasts where the homeowner stays in the house when guests are there. A maximum of three rooms with six adults can be rented at any one time and the owner will need to buy a business licence for $135.

Major business licences, which will cost $500, allow for the entire house to be rented out and the owner doesn’t have to be living on site. A maximum of four bedrooms with eight adults will be permitted.

Owners will have to sign good neighbour agreements before qualifying for licences.

The city is also looking at listing a dozen violations in various bylaws, some of which will carry fines up $1,000 a day, double the current maximum.

Those include things like doing multiple bookings at the same time, using unauthorized guest rooms, secondary suites or carriage houses or operating “contrary to licence conditions.”

City staff are recommending that council give the changes first and second reading then take them to a public hearing.

If passed, staff project that between 90 and 170 of the major licences will be issued.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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