An organization battling disruptive short-term rentals (STRs) in Oro-Medonte is hosting an information session in Orillia.
The Oro-Medonte Good Neighbours Alliance will welcome speakers to the event, taking place Wedneday, Aug. 10 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Rotary Aqua Theatre at Couchiching Beach Park.
In addition to background information on STRs, including their legality, attendees will hear testimonials from residents of Oro-Medonte, Tiny and Severn townships.
Municipalities’ responses to STRs will also be discussed, as the group feels there has been a “lack of enforcement and a failure to protect residential neighbourhoods,” as it stated in a news release.
The Oro-Medonte Good Neighbours Alliance also noted STRs “are not a residential land use,” “are not controllable, especially in small, rural municipalities,” and “do not provide an economic benefit to townships.”
There will be a question-and-answer period during the event.
Speakers will include Jennifer Hierholzer, who, with her husband, built a house three years ago on the shore of Georgian Bay. Before long, a neighbouring house was sold and began operating as an STR.
“Since then, Tiny Township has failed to protect them from the waves of STR visitors,” the release stated.
Gene Stein, of Oro-Medonte, president of the Maplewood Ratepayers’ Association, will discuss that community’s experience with STRs.
Also speaking will be Tony Mintoff, a former assistant deputy fire marshal for the province and a former fire chief in Ajax, Markham, St. Catharines and Tiny, who served on Tiny council from 2018 to 2021, “when he resigned as a matter of conscience.”
Also scheduled to speak are the following:
- Peter Lavoie, president of Barrillia Park Ratepayers Association and the Oro-Medonte Good Neighbours Alliance.
- Mike Walmsley, a Huntsville resident who is seeking a halt to the issuing of new STR licences “until the adverse effects on communities can be assessed.”
- David Johnston, professor at the Schulich School of Business, York University, and longtime resident of Oro-Medonte.
- Gord Knox, a retired urban planner, who has worked mostly in Simcoe County for almost 40 years and has appeared as an expert witness before what is now known as the Ontario Land Tribunal.