Harrison wrong to close the door on short term rentals

Harrison wrong to close the door on short term rentals

The recent decision to ban short term rentals in Harrison Hot Springs has shown just how flawed the local government is for three reasons.

First council member Sonya Reyerse-Peters runs a short term vacation rental in Harrison. This is an obvious conflict of interest and borders on abuse of power as she aims to shut down her competitors.

Second the survey put out by the town council was only filled out by six per cent of the local population which is not nearly enough to determine the feelings of an entire community. Furthermore the fact that this survey was given out at the first public event concerning short term rentals in June and the vote to ban them was only a month later is a ridiculously undemocratic time line. For a decision to be made that affects people’s livelihoods there should at least be enough time to for involved parties to meet and discuss issues and propose solutions.

Finally, the fact of Trish Feenstra, of The Front Porch, who was featured in a previous article raises other issues. The fact that she has received a business license from Harrison Hot Springs means that they have already approved her location and activities there. If there was an issue with short term rentals or the zoning of her property, it should have been dealt with before the village began handing out licenses. It seems like they now have an obligation to allow her to continue operating.

Harrison Hot Springs is a tourist town and to blindly shut down short term rentals will be bad for everyone. There are several other options that still could be considered such as the approved accommodation strategy that has been in place in Jasper since 1992.

In Jasper private homes are inspected and licensed by the National Park and municipality for quality and safety. What a great way for a town to showcase everything the community has to offer while maintaining a high standard for operators and protection for local citizens.

Simon Braun