Hello again, The SRD’s Board meeting was scheduled between my deadline to submit this report and the DI’s mailbox delivery. While there aren’t fresh decisions to report on, there’s news all the same.

Short Term Vacation Rentals Report
A report of note on the September 13 agenda is one about Short Term Vacation Rentals (STVRs). You may recall that according to the SRD’s 2022 Housing Needs report, in 2016 there were 54 STVRs in Area C and this number had grown to 177 by 2021.

In June the Board approved my request for a report ‘on the legal status of short-term vacation rentals in Electoral Area C, and avenues for managing their growth’. The STVR report states, “Short-Term Rentals (STR’s) are considered a commercial use and are only permitted in commercial zones where resort or other tourist accommodation is permitted”. It continues, “boarding houses and bed-and-breakfast-type accommodations operating out of an occupied private residence are permitted more broadly”.

The report further states, “Staff is aware that STR’s are prominent throughout residential zones in Electoral Area C however, as with all SRD bylaws, enforcement of compliance with the zoning bylaw is initiated once a written complaint has been received. The management of short-term rentals, including its permissiveness and level of regulatory controls, will be contemplated as part of the Official Community Plan (OCP) and subsequent zoning bylaw review for Electoral Area C, commencing this fall.”
Read the report here.

There are community members who supplement their mortgage or who sustain their retirement with support of their on-property STVR. Does considering STVRs as a home occupation have merit? The STVR conversation certainly will add another layer of interest and community participation to our upcoming Official Community Plan review. There is no word yet from staff on when this review will commence, stay tuned.

sunset ocean

BC Ferries Public Hearing
BC Ferries is proposing to rezone a 2.35-hectare area of Crown foreshore in Heriot Bay to expand the existing Marine Commercial One area to construct a new ferry berth. The Public Hearing is 6:30pm, Monday October 23 at the Community Centre; ads will be posted closer to the date.

The proposed rezoning is to accommodate the replacement the current ferry which is nearing the end of its service life and accommodate the deployment of a new and larger ‘Island Class’ vessel in 2026.

The QCove recycle depot is managed by Comox-Strathcona Waste Management Committee, staffed out of the Comox Valley Regional District office. I know many of you are anticipating the new depot, I sure am…. and my soft plastics collection keeps growing as I wait. My monthly check-ins on the whereabouts of our new recycle depot are consistently met with “we’re working out some last details and it should be very soon”.

forestry woodlot

Shortly I’ll be attending the annual Union of BC Municipalities event for the first time. I know the five days will be jam-packed. I’ll be in meetings advocating on behalf of islanders and island issues, and other meetings with fellow SRD Directors advocating on behalf of SRD residents.

SRD Board Meetings
Do you like to keep up on what’s happening at the Board table? Agendas are typically published the Friday before a Wednesday Board meeting. Agendas & minutes can be found at srd.ca/government/agendas-minutes. All public meetings are broadcast on youtube, see them linked at srd.ca/government/recorded-board-meetings.

You’re welcome to connect with me with questions or concerns. Email RMawhinney@srd.ca, or call 250.203.2468. Or if you’d like, you can book a meeting with me at calendly.com/robynmawhinney

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney

‘Around the Island’ photos in this edition: woodpeckers have been collaborating on a roadside carving; smoke-haze sunset with ferry; woodlot forestry, protecting planted trees from deer browse.