Skip to content

South Okanagan regional district asks board to scope short-term rental review

RDOS are asking the board whether they want to expand their public engagement
The RDOS office was built in 1984. Black Press file photo

Staff at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen will be asking its board of directors to dial in on what they want out of a planned vacation rental review.

The staff request will be going before the board on April 4, and follows after three directors voted on March 21 to move forward with opting into the provincial government’s new principal residence requirement for short-term rentals.

With those decisions in mind, which impact the West Bench, Okanagan Falls, Kaleden and Twin Lakes electoral areas, staff are asking for clarity and direction from the board.

A review of vacation rentals has been in the works since it was recommended back in 2021, with it officially added as a priority project in 2023.

Other projects, including the official community plan review for Naramata and the review of environmentally sensitive development permits, bumped it down in priority.

What the RDOS staff are currently picturing for the review would have a consulting firm break down the impacts of short-term rentals on the residential rental market, neighbourhoods, traditional accommodation providers like hotels and impacts on the local economy.

READ MORE: West Bench, Kaleden, Okanagan Falls opt in to short term rental regulations

The firm would also be directed to review options for regulation of short-term rentals, such as permit processes like the RDOS current Temporary Use Permits, business licencing requirements, health and safety considerations and enforcement options.

What the RDOS wants to know from directors is whether they want to go beyond their usual land-use project public engagement with more workshops and public information meetings in every electoral area.

Staff noted in their report that a half-day workshop with the board or public information is estimated to cost about $5,000.

“Accordingly, to require a PIM be scheduled in each of the eight Electoral Areas that currently have zoning bylaws could substantially impact the estimated cost of the project,” reads the report to the board.

Staff currently propose to require public engagement through information distributed with local media, through the Voyent Alert notification system, the RDOS’ website, written notices to all property owners, two public information meetings with one online and one in-person, and one online community survey.

The RDOS board will receive the report and request from staff on April 4, to decide whether to go beyond what is proposed for the review.

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
Read more