BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled 'Township's attempt to control 'party houses' deemed overreach,' published April 2, and 'LETTER: Balanced approach, not 'overreaching ban' needed in Oro-Medonte, says agency owner,' published April 9.
I am writing this to respond to the letter advocating for a "balanced approach to short-term rentals (STRs)" in Oro-Medonte. The letter was written by a woman whose business involves cottage rentals in the area. My family is in fact a beneficiary of one of these services.
Every summer for the last six years our multi-generational gathering at a cottage in Seguin Township has been a delight to our children and grandchildren. It is a highlight of our summer. My wife and I as matriarch and patriarch of the family are concerned about the future of our "cottage week."
We are also aware of the incredibly negative effect on the Oro-Medonte community of the burgeoning STR business that has developed over the past decade or so. We live in fear that one of these unmanaged hotels will locate on our street or, worse yet, beside us.
We are very aware of the damage and disruption this new breed of STRs has on our beloved communities. They simply destroy the fabric of our communities. With these unmanaged businesses proliferating, our neighbourhoods will no longer be safe for our children and grandchildren.
It is not enough to say that noise or disturbance bylaws should be enforced. Even if a bylaw enforcement officer is available to come on a weekend, which is unlikely, they are apt to be a single, often female, agent who, when confronted by a houseful of rowdy intoxicated stag attendees will just be laughed at and sent away. The neighbours are forced to become the first line of policing for their community and they have few tools to fall back on.
These unmanaged hotels must be shut down. My wife and I realize that if it eventually means the end of our cottage weeks as we know them we will revert to small resorts to accommodate our families. We will miss the cottage we currently rent each summer, but if it means the end of the STR threat then so be it.
It is important for all of us to remember that the Oro-Medonte residents whose lives are turned upside by a disruptive STR next door are in their prime residence and not in a cottage on a remote lake.
The world is evolving around us and if the advent of Internet-driven STRs means the demise of the cottage rental business that is far less impactful than allowing unmanaged hotels to damage and ultimately destroy many of our neighbourhoods.
This may seem like an overly strong statement but if you are unfortunate enough to have one of these "party houses" locate next to your home you will understand it is not an exaggeration.