Lambton Shores survey looks at booming short-term rental business

The Welcome to Grand Bend sign on Grand Bend Line. August 9, 2018. (Photo by Colin Gowdy, BlackburnNews)

Lambton Shores wants to know the benefits and concerns of having short-term rentals in the community.

Mayor Bill Weber said it has become a big business in the municipality, especially in Grand Bend, their most popular Lake Huron resort community.

“Recently there’s been people buying properties, solely for the purpose of a commercial short-term rental business,” said Weber.

“I don’t know the number for sure, but I know there’s a lot. There’s a lot of places where people have bought a cottage and they’ll have it for two weeks and they will do a short-term rental for the rest of the summer season. So, there’s a lot of ownership with short-term rentals.”

The municipality has launched a survey to gather opinions before licensing and taxes are considered.

“Certainly looking at occupancy, fire protection safety, all of those types of issues. Cottages that were made for a family of four, are housing 12 people for a week and the septic systems have not been updated. That is something that’s going to have to be checked and maintained regularly.”

Weber said the council backed off on implementing a municipal accommodation tax [MAT] in 2020, because of the pandemic.

“We want it to be fair to the hotel association that would have to collect it, and for the short-term rentals to be licensed, so that we can collect MAT tax on everything. We will look at that again. It’s certainly something that I think would be beneficial to the municipality, to provide funding for events that are local.”

Residents can participate in the public survey online at lambtonshores.ca/ShortTermRentals until September 15.

Submissions are limited to one per household and all of the feedback will be included in a final report to council by the end of this year.

Additional stakeholder meetings, public information centres and direct communication with short-term rental property owners is also being planned this summer.