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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Saturday, November 26, 2022
Letter: Town needs to act faster on rental bylaw

Dear editor:

First let me preface this letter by strongly stating that the taxpayers, not tourists from Texas nor Hamilton etc., elect the lord mayor and town council of NOTL.

We elect them – we can remove them. In other words, they serve at the pleasure of their constituents.

Accordingly, the jury is in on both the short-term rental and other attendant problems associated with tourist saturation. 

The residents have spoken. Our local newspapers have been inundated in recent years with protests to our elected officials, not to mention the numerous editorials. “The residents speak” section of the Group for Sustainable Tourism newsletter, votersbeforetourists.com, plus our Chautauqua neighbourhood representative group .

The residents are fed up. It's time for action, no need for any more dog-and-pony show meetings. The issues have been voiced repeatedly and spelled out clearly. It's becoming a broken record.

We are also tired of being threatened by the B&B, Airbnb, hotel owners etc. about what will happen if we don't keep flooding NOTL with even more tourists. We are already a world-known destination spot. Visitors will keep coming.

As proposed by a writer from Queenston, we should defund the $ 118,000 we give to the Chamber of Commerce. Overtourism does not speak to spending more taxpayer dollars to attract more. We have other, better priorities. The action on the short-term rentals is an excellent first step. Kudos all around .

I agree 100 per cent with the proposed new bylaw,with the following caveat: the 2024 effective date will only encourage any potential investor to buy and open a rental property.

An additional three years is too long to further hollow out our neighbourhoods. Make the effective date January 2022 and tightly control any issuance of operating licences.

Additionally, a proposed rental posting should be visible, at the property, to afford any adjacent property owner the opportunity to challenge the application.

Currently, a property is sold and bingo a rental springs up next door with no prior warning. Happened to me.

To the lord mayor and council, I say more aggressive and immediate action on matters already discussed is being demanded by your electorate.

We want our town back. You have heard how Queen Street etc. has been lost to the taxpayer from April through October. Do we have to wait and elect a new slate of officials to get things done?

As noted above , you all serve at the pleasure of your constituents — their ongoing backlash and frustrations gives one the sense you are tone deaf to their pleas. Not a good scenario for re-election.

To all, happy holidays, wear a mask and stay safe.

Samuel Young

NOTL