Short term rentals

Katherine Jacques 

There were 70 people in attendance at a lively public consultation on the issue of short term rentals and changes to the bylaws governing them. 

There will be two new classifications

• Principal residence, a dwelling where the owner lives on a regular basis, has the center of most of their activities and is registered as a primary residence with the government of Quebec. 

• Secondary residence, defined as not being the primary residence of the owner and only used by them part-time. 

The changes will require that both establishment types have a Quebec government classification and respect all the town’s other bylaws. Secondary residences have other requirements. A permit from the town; the owner can only have one such establishment at a time; it must be a single-family home; the owner must be a person and not a company and pay an increase in property taxes. There are also maximum occupancies as well as other minimum standards that must be upheld. 

The main concerns that surfaced in the meeting were about the restrictions on distance from neighbouring homes and minimum square feet of land needed. Those for the changes argued that noise disturbed residents living close by, while those against brought up the fact that the regulations did not stop a firepit or pool from being adjacent to the neighbouring house. 

Other concerns were about how the town was going to be able to monitor and enforce the bylaws, and how people can afford the tax increase if they can only rent their homes half the year. Also, lake-front owners felt they were being discriminated against. While some questioned whether we still want to be a tourist area or not. Overall, everyone remained calm and was able to say what they needed, but it was clear that there were varying opinions among the citizens. 

The town realizes how important this project is to the people. The deadline for submissions has passed and the new version of the bylaws will be presented at April 4 council meeting.