LETTER: Answers still needed when it comes to STA question

It’s been almost four years since community consultations were held on the County’s issue with Short Term Accommodations (STAs) and the message back to Council then was loud and clear…this is a major issue for our community that needs to be fixed.

‘What do we have after waiting for so long? A map showing 816 STAs which many are questioning regarding its accuracy (it is missing many is the common belief).

You would think along with the map we would receive a communication from our Mayor and or Council but alas we received nothing. Are the map results what they expected? Were they surprised by the number? What are we doing about the lost housing stock and the impact of STAs on affordable housing, etc., etc.? Silence.

The residents of my street in Wellington have made several inquiries to our Councillor and Shire Hall asking for details on processes around licensing, grandfathering, enforcement, density rules, etc. All things we were promised. What we have received to date is high level answers, at times vague and in some cases no answer was given citing confidentiality. One would think after four years all this would be pretty nailed down and easily accessible. If you look at the news you will quickly find our community is not alone in facing the challenges of STAs. However many communities are further ahead in bylaw development and process development then we are. Some communities are trying to live with a reasonable amount of STAs using strict bylaws. Others are banning whole home STAs altogether in order for the housing stock to be return to the market.

Simply put there is no need for Prince Edward County to try and reinvent the wheel. Best practices already exist that could be copied and implemented immediately. We deserve better from our Mayor and Council than what we have received on this issue. We need better communication updating us on what is going on. We need faster decision making than the 4 years and counting this has taken. We have all kinds of avenues to communicate through (websites, social media, local newspapers, town halls, etc) and 13 Councillors and a Mayor to take turns providing updates.

Why then do we have so many questions four years later on a subject that was considered a major issue? Perhaps it’s time once again for the residents of our community to demand an update and if necessary, get involved to help Council make the right decisions on this issue. In speaking with neighbours in my neighbourhood it has been suggested that the residents start a Residents Association to hold Council accountable and drive issues to conclusion.

Based on what has happened here I agree and we would like to know if you agree as well. If you would like to be part of a Wellington Residents Association (or maybe a PEC Residents Association) send a note to the email address below with your name and what ward you live in. Together let’s turn our frustrations into action.

WellingtonResidentsAssociation@gmail.com

Tim Good

Wellington