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Niagara Falls
Sunday, February 5, 2023
Editorial: Punishing illegal short-term rentaloperators

Councillors have finally taken a hard stance against short-term rentals by slapping bad actors with a one-year licence ban.

As we have been strongly advocating for council to get this industry under control, we must congratulate all the councillors who supported the ban.

Now you need to hold firm and continue to ban all illegal operators. They should also be made to pay a hefty fine for breaking the rules.

Despite Coun. Gary Burroughs’ out-of-order comment during council, that “maybe we should shoot them as well,” this is a fair punishment for people who knowingly violated the rules in the name of their own personal profit.

We appreciate the genuine financial concerns expressed by Brian Kerr, who operated illegally and said it was the only way he could survive after losing his job during the pandemic.

But we applaud council for not caving in and giving more than a slap on the wrist to these illegal operators. It’s really just a first step in what is sure to be a long fight.

It’s a good start, but it’s not going to fix the ongoing threat short-term rentals, legal or not, can have on our community, neighbours and homes.

It’s time now to act, as other municipalities have done, to set a limit on short-term rentals.

Other municipalities have even had the courage and foresight to ban these businesses outright in residential areas.

They’ve done this because it’s clear short-term rentals are commercial businesses, and like any other commercial business, they are inappropriate for residential neighbourhoods.

We appreciate that such a bold move would stir a large outcry from the owners of these businesses, but sometimes leaders need to make bold moves.

So, councillors, let’s see you stick to your guns. Let’s see you revisit the principal residence requirement, let’s see you put the needs of our residents and communities and neighbours before the needs of an invasive, problematic industry that feeds off our homes.

Let’s see you continue to take real action to preserve the character of NOTL.

Establish a firm limit on short-term rentals or ban them in residential areas.

And keep Granicus around, to seek out, penalize and shutter those who decide to operate illegally anyway.


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