An upcoming Public Hearing of Kimberley City Council on November 14 will seek input from the public on the zoning at Mountain Spirit Resort, which is located next to the Trickle Creek Lodge at the resort base.
The application for a zoning change has come from 65 of the 68 owners at Mountain Spirit.
As explained by City Planner Troy Pollock in a report to Council, the proposed amendment is not a reduction or restriction of current permitted uses. Rather, the amendment would allow an additional use of property and would “correct” the inconsistency between zoning and the rental covenant by making it clear that personal residential use of the specified units is indeed permitted.
“This seems like a positive move but the amendments could potentially result in fewer accommodation units being consistently available for commercial rental. A reduced or less-reliable supply of tourist accommodation units, especially in the main resort village area, could negatively impact visitor experience and tourism-reliant businesses and facilities throughout the community. Reduced occupancy rates would also impact potential MRDT and RMI revenues. It is possible that residential use of units will increase if the zoning amendment is approved however that appears to be happening already despite the current zoning.”
Coun. Albert Hoglund has his doubts about the change because he feels there would then be a danger of these properties not being in the rental pool. There are millions invested in the tourism product on the ski hill, not the least of which is the $2 million the city has invested in the conference centre, he said.
While Mayor Don McCormick said he shared concerns about having enough rental units available, he pointed out that it was only about half a dozen times a year that there was peak capacity.
“In discussing this, Planning has tried to make it so owners can use units when they are not being used in the rental pool,” he said. Most other condos on the ski hill already have this provision, the mayor said.
Coun. Darryl Oakley said that he’d support the zoning change.
“The owners could have just kept going, using their units despite the zoning but they’ve asked us for clarity. If I were an owner this clarity would be reassuring.”
“I’m in favour of going forward,” said Coun. Kent Goodwin. “This all ties in with bigger issues, like Air BnBs and the lack of rental accommodation.”
McCormick noted that a lot has changed in the last ten years and it was important that the city keep reviewing zoning issues to keep up with change.