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Opinion: Prince George needs short-term home rentals

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, students, families visiting hospitalized loved ones, etc., rely on the short-term rental industry.
Short-term rentals essential in Prince George, a resident argues.

It’s time for this local government to take a stand for the residents of Prince George and area against the bullies in Victoria. Under the NDPs watch, residents outside the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island have been subjected policies and legislation that can be considered abusive.

Since the NDP was elected, NDP policies have contributed to multiple pulp and sawmill shutdowns in northern BC, which has had a devastating effect on thousands of families and a number of communities both big and small. Other mills have had, and continue to have, scheduled curtailments negatively affecting countless other families both financially and emotionally.

The latest crackdown on short-term rentals confirms the true nature of the premier of this province. The different regions of our wonderful province are unique. The North, Okanagan, Kootenays are all completely different than the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island in economy, culture, lifestyle, yet we are forced to comply with the iron fist of a dictator sitting on a throne in Victoria.

As is the case with the forest industry, David Eby couldn’t care less about the negative spinoffs this legislation will have on the regions outside his precious domain of Vancouver and Victoria. The latest published rental vacancy rate for Prince George is four percent. Long-term rental rates in Prince George are approximately half of the average going rates in the rest of Canada. There is not a housing crisis in Prince George.

It could be argued that there is an affordable housing crisis here, which exists in all of Canada. This legislation of not allowing local entrepreneurs to have a short-term rental business will not change that. Short-term rentals are essential for the unique demographic of Prince George. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, students, families visiting hospitalized loved ones, etc., rely on the short-term rental industry.

Most guests can’t afford to stay in hotels for weeks or months on end, nor do they want to. Other guests have allergies and diet restrictions which make restaurants not possible. These guests need fully equipped kitchens so they can purchase and prepare their own food.

It’s time for us to let the NDP government know that the north will not be painted by the same brush as rest of BC. Our local elected government must opt out of this legislation.

Al Eiswerth

Prince George