News

Candidates speak on nightly rentals issue

 | May 26, 2010

Interest was high at Sun Peaks’ first ever political forum on May 25. All seats were filled and some stood at the Delta Sun Peaks’ Alpine Room as about 70 people came to hear what the candidates had to say. Fourteen others viewed it through the live online UStream broadcast.

Two mayoral candidates and six other candidates vying for the three councilor positions outlined their platform and answered questions from the audience. They came with prepared speeches and power attire to match.

The forum took on a more laidback feel as none of the heckling and name-calling that people have come to expect of political events such as this occurred. Even the candidates injected humour into the discussion.

However, differing views became apparent while discussing the hot button issue of nightly rentals.

Mayoral candidate Gerald Allgaier came out with a clear-cut answer. “I think all people who have properties that are zoned for rentals should be able to rent out their properties and they have just as much right to do so as the big hotels, who have just as much right to rent out their rooms as the smaller, single property owners,” said Allgaier.

Candidate for councillor Mike Pozza said people should adhere to the zoning to prevent anarchy. “If somebody buys a house that’s zoned as residential and that’s what they thought they bought, I don’t think this council can turn around and turn the entire neighbourhood into something else,” said. “There has to be some enforcement of the laws.”

“There’s a mechanism that if somebody wants to change their zoning, they can go through that process,” he added. “It’s up to the owner to take responsibility for zoned actions. You’ve got to be respecting your neighbours. You’ve got to respect the rights of people who bought with the zoning as it was.”

Mayoral candidate Al Raine looked at the need for a clear bylaw that would allow for better enforcement of the rules.

“The present bylaws are really ambiguous,” said Raine. “Let’s go and make the bylaws very clear…unfortunately, you gotta go back and clean up 13 or 14 years worth of mess and that’s gonna take some time on council’s part.”

Council candidate Doug Avery stressed that this issue affects more than the neighbourhood, but tourism in general which is the bread and butter of the entire community.

“If it comes down to a decision council makes that someone’s gonna take their vacation to Big White because we don’t offer a product here, I think that’s shortsightedness on the council’s side,” said Avery. “We need to look at the big picture.”

Policing is another hot topic. The break and entries of vacant units in the summer and noise issues from overzealous partiers in the winter have become a cycle that’s difficult to break. Because of the resort’s remote location, RCMP officers often can’t respond immediately.
However, providing a policing service would mean shelling out at least $100,000, something that would hugely affect either the taxes or the overall budget of the inaugural council.

Responses from the candidates ranged from implementing a community or a neighbourhood watch and installing household alarm and monitoring systems, to hiring a private security personnel or even an RCMP officer.

Other discussion topics included schooling, sustainability and services for young and growing families.

The general election day is June 12, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Delta Sun Peaks. Advanced voting days are June 2 at the Hearthstone Lodge, June 5 at the Delta Sun Peaks and June 9 at the TNRD office in Kamloops. All voting days are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mail-in ballots can be requested from the TNRD and must be received by 8 p.m. on June 12 to be counted.

The forum videos are available for viewing on the SPIN website. Visit www.sunpeaksnews.com and click on the UStream tab.

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