I have my own house that I am thankful is paid for, so affordable housing is not one of my personal problems. Rather, I am writing this on behalf of all my young friends who grew up here and cannot afford to buy a house, condo, or apartment and sometimes can no longer afford to live here along with all of the working people whom we need but cannot afford to be here.
I am glad the Town went ahead with its plan to tax vacation rentals as commercial property because that is what they are. I would suggest they look at how San Francisco has dealt with the issue of unlicensed Airbnb’s taking rental properties out of the long-term rental market. In San Francisco, these rentals are supposed to only be in properties where the owners live on-site and are required to be licensed. They initially tried to penalize individual Airbnb owners but found this more or less unsuccessful.
They ended up dealing directly with Airbnb and charging them $1,000 per day per property if the property did not have a city license number posted on the property website. The number of Airbnbs in San Francisco dropped rapidly from 8,000 to 4,000. Let’s see the Town take some decisive action in this regard to help the younger members of our community – who are an integral part of making this a vibrant community – to stay here. It would also be good if we could do something about the enormous number of properties that stand empty.The other issue we have is people coming in here to work and living in their vans because we cannot as a town to provide enough affordable housing. I made this suggestion some time ago to the Town.
The heliport could be relocated away from the residential part of Canmore, which would leave a 13-acre site – much of it in the floodplain – empty. What better way to utilize this than with a municipal campground. The great thing about a campground is that in the event of catastrophic flooding such as we had in 2013, it would be easy to evacuate and there would not be any extensive infrastructure to get damaged. It could even be designed in such a way that any building could be modular and therefore removable. It could be partly low-cost sites with proper facilities for people working here and partly regular camp spots for tourists.