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EXCHANGE EXCHANGE is is aa quarterly quarterly magazine magazine published published by by the the Local Local Government Government Management Management Association Association (LGMA) (LGMA) of of British British Columbia. Columbia. It’s It’s about about sharing sharing information, information, exchanging exchanging ideas ideas on on best best practices, practices, enhancing enhancing professional professional development development and and building building networks. networks. Reach Reach us us at at








Sharing Economy: Perks and Pitfalls


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LGMA Annual Conference


Tips & Tactics: Sharing Economy Resources


Programs & Events


6 Focus on the Future: LGMA at 100

Exchange is the magazine for members of the Local Government Management Association of British Columbia. Exchange is distributed quarterly to over 900 members of the LGMA, as well as Mayors and Regional District Chairs.

Join us for the 2019 Annual Conference June 11-13 in Vancouver as we celebrate our past and set goals for the future. With thought-provoking sessions and inspiring guest speakers, including the Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, it’s an event you won’t want to miss.

Sharing Economy: Perks and Pitfalls

Exchange is printed on Sappi Flo, an FSC® Certified 10% recycled fibre paper at Island Business Print Group.

From short-term rentals to bike and vehicle sharing, the sharing economy is here to stay. Hear what the experts have to say about the best ways to navigate the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities.

LGMA Office: Suite 710A 880 Douglas Street Victoria, BC V8W 2B7 Telephone: 250.383.7032 Email: Web:


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District of Tofino, City of Nelson and City of Vancouver share their experiences with managing the opportunities and challenges associated with regulating short-term rentals.

Cover Illustration: CreativeArchetype/Getty Images



Case Studies: Managing Short-term Rentals

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18 Case Study: Vancouver Public Bike Sharing Vancouver’s public bike share system has continued to grow into a popular transportation option, while avoiding some of the challenges faced by other communities. Find out how.


We’ve been participating in the sharing economy for years, we just didn’t have a name for it and the sharing platform was not as sophisticated.

ithout realizing it, I’ve been involved in the sharing economy for years. When we travel, we prefer to stay in places with a kitchen, which means we have been booking through Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO). On a much smaller scale, some of the places we’ve stayed on vacation have books available where you can take one and leave some of your own to share with others. When we were kids, we lived in “hand-me-down” clothes from family friends. So we’ve been participating in the sharing economy for years, we just didn’t have a name for it and the sharing platforms were not as sophisticated.


On a recent trip to New York, my friends and I stayed in a condo we found through Airbnb and we used Uber to get to the airport from Manhattan as we couldn’t book a van with the taxi service. Traveling using these types of platforms has become fairly commonplace – even for people like me who are a long way from the millennial age bracket. From a personal perspective, there are a lot of benefits to these emerging sectors but looking at them through the lens of local government brings a new perspective, and it comes with almost as many pitfalls as benefits. While most people can see the individual benefits when directly involved in a sharing transaction, when those sectors start to interfere with others, community members often look to government to deal with the issues. Given that one of the key responsibilities of local government is regulatory in nature, it’s not surprising that the emergence of these new economic sectors is posing new challenges. I was shocked at the sheer breadth and volume of the sharing economy – way more than the transportation, accommodation and product sharing I’d experienced. In a white paper produced by the World Economic Forum and PwC, Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to ‘Sharing Economy’, the list of sectors in the sharing economy also include sharing skills/talents, financing such as money lending and crowd funding, medical equipment and services, utilities, food and even learning. There are also examples of how local governments share goods, services and other civic assets with each other.

That’s a huge scope of products and services being shared, and no one can predict where this new global market will end up. So in a rapidly-changing economic sector that is often based on very loose peer-to-peer arrangements, local governments are increasingly faced with questions on how or whether to get involved. In Sharing Economy: Perks and Pitfalls, experts consistently advise caution and the need for research into each sector before taking any action. There is also a consistent theme related to understanding the needs and priorities of all stakeholders in the community before implementing regulatory measures or incentives for different sectors. The case studies shared highlight how a balanced approach can help to address the mixed group of interests in the community. The over-riding message is that things will keep changing, so it’s essential for local governments to stay informed on the emerging sharing economy sectors so they don’t get left behind with each new shift. Like so many of the changes that happen in communities, the sharing economy comes with opportunities and challenges. The trick will be navigating a way through to find the best balance to benefit a mix of stakeholders in the community. Therese Mickelson, ABC Editor

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019



As we see the sharing economy continue to grow, I believe it is worth reflecting on the fundamental essence of the concept, which in my opinion is simply about sharing and cooperation.

ith this being the last edition of Exchange during my presidency, I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Board and countless colleagues who supported me during the past year. Through the LGMA, I have had the chance to meet local government professionals from across British Columbia and engage in meaningful conversations about our collective challenges, opportunities and strategies. Having the ability to pick up the phone or send an email to compare notes with colleagues that share similar challenges has been absolutely invaluable.


The past year was a momentous one for the LGMA and local government in British Columbia. We continue to experience rapid social, economic and technological change. The Board has supported a range of initiatives to test new educational and professional development approaches and technical skills training in an effort to be responsive to the needs of local government staff. We monitor the financial, organizational and human resource capacity impacts of these new initiatives at every Board meeting, and I believe we are taking judicious risks to continue to evolve the training options for local government professionals across the province. The huge importance of the 100th Anniversary of the LGMA cannot be overstated. The Association is in the midst of preparations to celebrate a century of providing training, education, and professional development and support to its members. The Board also began a review of the LGMA Code of Ethics this past September, which will be completed in mid-2019. This edition of Exchange is about the sharing economy, which in its various iterations touches closely on the work we do as local government professionals. As we see the sharing economy continue to grow, I believe it is worth reflecting on the fundamental essence of the concept, which in my opinion is simply about sharing and cooperation.


Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government

Fortunately, our profession has a long history of encouraging these very attributes, as illustrated by such examples as supporting good governance or even facilitating regional collaboration. Our society is seeing more and more platforms that seek to use underutilized assets and build community, changing our world dramatically, especially as it relates the regulations and policies that we draft. We have seen technology reduce transaction costs, making it both easier and cheaper to connect on a large scale. As professionals, I believe it is our responsibility to be adaptive and change with the times. We should facilitate the positive aspects of the sharing economy to create opportunities and grow our local economies, strategizing to protect against possible negatives, all the while not being completely sure of where this journey will take us. I would like to end with a heartfelt thanks to Nancy Taylor and her team for their support over the past year. The Association’s great positioning in the industry is a result of Nancy’s guidance; we are very lucky to have such visionary leader. I encourage our members to participate in the events and take advantage of the resources that are available to you through your regional chapters and broader LGMA programs. I also encourage you to reach out to a member of the Board if you would like to be involved with our work as it currently exists or see an opportunity for further engagement. On behalf of the Association, thank you for your continued support. Mark Koch President


A century is a long period of time, and as I’ve learned more about our storied history, it is becoming much clearer how we have grown and indeed thrived over the course of the past 100 years.

very start to a new year feels like a great new beginning for staff as we launch a fresh slate of training, educational and professional development programs. But 2019 is extra special as we are celebrating 100 years of service to the local government profession! As we have been planning and preparing since mid-2018, it’s given me a sense of renewed pride in the work of our Association and gratitude for the hundreds of dedicated volunteers and supporters who have led the way this past century to successes we are now celebrating.


Certainly, a century is a very long period of time, and as I’ve learned more about our storied history, it is becoming much clearer how we have grown and indeed thrived over the course of the past 100 years. Throughout our history, the support and encouragement of our members, the unselfish energy and vision of our volunteers, and the guidance and wisdom of our elected Boards have contributed to a legacy of highly respected training programs and a reputation for guarding and supporting the interests of the profession. It gave me goosebumps when I watched the video from our first decade, which highlighted the proclamation of the creation of the Association (then known as the Municipal Officers Association) by the elected officials at the UBCM Convention in 1919. I encourage you all to watch our 10-part video series – 100 Years of Local Government, Growing a Profession. Every decade has contributed to a track record of forward-looking training programs and an emphasis on the development of local government professionals. Every major historical milestone in the development of the LGMA has focused not on simply training for the sake of training, but to ensure that local government staff are well-equipped to meet the technical and leadership demands and the changes in local government responsibilities and requirements over the decades. As we head into the 1960s and subsequent decades where we have members who can share stories from their careers, we are looking for folks willing to be interviewed. So step up or call a former mentor or colleague and encourage them to tell their story!

As we highlight the history of the Association, we are also paying tribute to the professionals who have helped shape and improve their communities. We are doing this in two ways. Virtually every local government in B.C. has agreed to plant a tree in honour of the hard work and dedication of local government professionals during Local Government Week in May. And we are encouraging local government professionals to track their volunteer hours with a goal to collect 100,000 hours before the end of 2019. We are also very excited about our 100th Anniversary legacy project to facilitate greater engagement, understanding and reconciliation between BC First Nations and local government staff. The LGMA and the First Nations Public Service Secretariat have created the BC First Nations Public Service Scholarship, an endowment with the Vancouver Foundation that will ensure that Indigenous government professionals have access to the very best in training, professional development and academic accreditation. We are hoping to raise $100,000 for this scholarship. If you would like to contribute, a tax deductible, charitable donation may be made to the Vancouver Foundation. If you know of an organization or company in your community who might be interested in contributing to the BC First Nations Public Service Scholarship, please contact me. The Annual Conference June 11-13 in Vancouver is going to be spectacular, with the usual great conference sessions and speakers. We are also adding a Heritage Showcase, a pop-up museum of the photos, stories and collections of historic objects from the past 100 years of local government in B.C. We invite all local government communities to take an active role in contributing to the Heritage Showcase. Show your pride in your local government and the community you serve by bringing one or two items, photos, or pieces of memorabilia that represent your community. I look forward to seeing you all in Vancouver for our Annual Conference and this special celebration of the outstanding leaders in our profession – past, present and future! Nancy Taylor Executive Director

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019


By Ben Ramsden Articled Student, Carvello Law Corporation


Challenges of the Sharing Economy he sharing economy is a fast-growing economic sector comprised of companies with innovative and potentially disruptive business models utilizing digital technologies that match buyers and sellers, facilitate peer-to-peer transactions and leverage idle capacity. This article will examine resulting regulatory challenges faced by local governments and identify potential pitfalls and opportunities.


TAXIS AND UBER Local governments have had difficulty applying existing regulations to aspects of the sharing economy. In City of Toronto v. Uber Canada Inc. et al., 2015 ONSC 3752, the City failed to restrain Uber from operating. The court ruled that the City’s bylaws and licensing requirements did not apply to Uber because Uber did not meet the bylaws’ definitions of “taxicab broker” or “limousine service company”. In Edmonton (City) v. Uber Canada Inc., 2015 ABQB 214, the City was similarly unsuccessful. The court found no clear and continuing breach of City bylaws as Uber Canada did not dispatch, permit or control drivers and had no actual presence in Edmonton, such as maintaining an office. Advertising, support and recruiting for an app did not meet the City bylaw’s definition of “carrying on business”. In response, some local governments have developed bylaws that explicitly address ride-sharing companies. However, new legislation in British Columbia (the Passenger Transportation Amendment Act, 2018, S.B.C. 2018, c.53) will, if brought into force, prevent local governments from regulating the operating area and supply of commercial ride-sharing vehicles.

SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTALS Local governments have had success using zoning, development regulations and business licensing to regulate short-term rentals, largely by enforcing against the owners rather than the facilitating companies. There have been no reported land use enforcement decisions in British Columbia against Airbnb or VRBO. In North Pender Island Local Trust Committee v. Conconi, 2010 BCCA 494, an injunction against use of a property for short-term rentals was upheld as the use did not conform with land use bylaws. Recently, Mailloux v Tofino (District), 2018 BCSC 2298 (Mailloux) and Nanaimo (Regional District) v Saccomani, 2018 BCSC 752 (Saccomani) also held that applicable zoning bylaws did not allow short-term rentals in areas zoned for residential use.


Promoting Professional Management & Leadership Excellence in Local Government

In Mailloux, property owners failed in their argument that they were not operating a business because property management companies they contracted were the ones operating a business. The court in Saccomani affirmed that short-term accommodation and residential accommodation are two completely different uses of land, and excluding vacation rentals in a residential area is a regulation of use, not user. But there are also many unsuccessful examples, and strong distinctions in land use bylaws are important. (See June 2012 and Spring 2018 Exchange, Case of Interest articles.)

TRANSPORTATION, CAR-SHARING AND BIKE-SHARING The sharing economy also affects local government transportation plans. Modo, Car2Go, Zipcar and other co-ops and companies allow use of shared vehicles through an app. When designating parking stalls on public highways or bike-racks on sidewalks, local governments must respect the common law and statutory provisions relevant to public highways. Developers providing car-share vehicles and spaces often seek reduced parking standards and variances, and it’s important to adequately secure those amenities through density-bonusing and/or covenants.

USE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAND Local governments may be asked to provide access to spaces for purposes including public swap-meets, pop-up retail, repair workshops and tool libraries. In addition to zoning, business licensing and public space permitting, local governments should ensure any actions they take comply with the prohibition against providing a benefit, advantage or other assistance to a business. The Community Charter defines “business” as carrying on a commercial or industrial activity or undertaking and providing professional, personal or other services for gain or profit. Local governments should be cautious before entering any arrangement with a business beyond a basic landlord and tenant agreement or license of use or occupation. Local governments should also ensure that these legislated restrictions and requirements can be complied with before providing use of a space they own to an organization, person or group. In conclusion, a review of just some of the regulatory challenges posed by the sharing economy illustrates the care and numerous considerations required of local governments before attempting to regulate or facilitate aspects of the sharing economy. Review and updating of regulatory schemes are usually recommended.


Focused on the Future: LGMA at 100 Plan to attend the 2019 LGMA Conference being held June 11-13 in Vancouver In 2019, the LGMA, its members and its partners are celebrating 100 years of working together to support local government professionals. The 2019 LGMA Conference in Vancouver will mark this milestone by bringing together delegates from across the province to explore local government best practices, innovative solutions and future trends, with sessions carefully curated to fit these themes. Focus on your future by taking in the leadership insights offered by inspiring keynote speakers. Hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser kicks things off by sharing that pressure is a privilege whether in sport, at work or in life. A five-time Olympic medalist, she is also a community leader, history-maker and accomplished businesswoman. Through storytelling, Ms. Wickenheiser discusses how to perform under pressure, stay motivated and achieve success by going above and beyond.

Be inspired by this year’s keynote speakers: The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, Canada’s first female prime minister, and Olympic medalist and hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser.

Following her tenure as Canada’s first female prime minister and one of the world’s youngest national leaders, the Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell represented Canada internationally and worked to strengthen democracy and women’s leadership around the world. Drawing on her personal experience as well as the most current social science, Ms. Campbell explores aspects of effective leadership and how to foster creativity, innovation and flexibility in leadership. The conference program includes workshops targeted toward Approving Officers and Communications Officers, along with those wishing to hone their leadership competencies in conflict resolution or learn more about employee motivation and engagement. Help prepare your organization for what’s ahead with sessions on aligning your resources to the future of work, trends in emergency management and planning for resiliency.

Hear how your peers are engaging the community on difficult topics, attracting and retaining in-demand employees, building relations with First Nations and partnering to support marginalized citizens. Get the latest scoop on the regulation of cannabis, workplace bullying and harassment and what’s driving local government innovation. Be sure to take advantage of opportunities to meet up and connect! Join fellow delegates as part of the Early Risers’ Club, talk to sponsors and exhibitors about local government resources and solutions, and consult with experts on your pension or education plans. Before heading home, attend the Going Beyond Gala and celebrate 100 years of successes and a bright future made possible by the collaborative efforts of local government professionals and partners, and recognize the specific contributions of members to our profession this past year. A conference room block is available at the Westin Bayshore beginning at $239 plus tax. To receive the special rates please call 604-682-3377 and reference the “LGMA Conference group.” Visit to view the full conference program or register.

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019



We’re turning 100 – help us celebrate! Three Ways to Celebrate Bring an item that celebrates your community to our

1 Heritage Showcase

The Heritage Showcase at the 2019 LGMA Annual Conference in Vancouver (June 11-13) will feature photos, stories, videos and objects representing 100 years of local government in B.C. We invite you to celebrate your local government and the community you live in by bringing one or two items (anything from photos to pieces of memorabilia that represents your community) and display them in a pop-up museum at the Heritage Showcase. Tables will be grouped by LGMA Chapters, giving members an opportunity to highlight what is special about their community. If you are interested in bringing an item or have any questions about the Heritage Showcase, please visit our website:

2 Help the LGMA collect 100,000 hours of community impact Our 100,000 Hours Volunteer Challenge is underway and members from Abbotsford to Zeballos are logging the hours they give to their communities. Even when away from the office, local government professionals spend their free time volunteering to support community causes. We want to highlight the impact local government professionals make in their communities. Visit our website and log your volunteer hours today. Together, we will reach our 100,000 goal before the end of 2019!

From the archives: MATI Foundations Class of 1984.

Share the video series “100 Years of Local Government” with

3 colleagues and friends

Join us each month as we release a new video exploring a decade of local government history from the past 100 years. From the boom of the roaring 1920s, to the darkness of the Second World War and the collaborative spirit of the 1970s, local government professionals have dedicated their careers to supporting their communities. If you haven’t yet watched our video series, visit our Facebook page ( to watch the series as new episodes are released. If you are enjoying the series, please consider sharing the videos so your Facebook friends can see them and let your colleagues know to check them out! If you have questions about our Centennial celebration or have a memory, photo or story you’d like to share, please contact Ryan Hunt, LGMA Communications & Membership Engagement Coordinator (



Help your new Council or Board get on the same page with customized workshops: • Master Your Media & Social Media Message • Set Your Communications Priorities Learn more at Email:


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By Therese Mickelson, ABC

SHARING ECONOMY Perks & Pitfalls A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019


Experts agree: the sharing economy is here to stay.


owever, for local government, this growth comes with a cautionary note both in terms of how to support these new sectors as well as how – or whether – to regulate them.

At its most basic, the sharing economy is a system that is based on leveraging underused assets or services, and the sharing is between individuals. Statistics Canada assessed usage from November 2015 to October 2016 and found that 9.5 per cent of Canadians aged 18 years or older have participated in the sharing economy using peer-to-peer ride services or private accommodation services, and the spending on private accommodation services in Canada and abroad totaled $1.31 billion. Those numbers are continuing to increase. The growth in the sharing economy is linked to a number of factors, including the rapid development of new technology platforms that make it easier to get products in front of customers as well as economic impacts that have resulted in increasing demand for lower cost options and the need for additional revenue sources. “There’s always been a trend to seek out lower costs and best value in spending, but now it’s easier to find opportunities for those lower cost services,” says Dan Wilson, Planning and Engagement at the Whistler Centre for Sustainability. “I think there’s also increased awareness that making underutilized assets available for sharing is a good thing. Even if the cost is lower than charged commercially, it’s more revenue than the owners had when they left the asset unused.” The growth is also being linked to demographics and the differing needs and priorities for each age group. A recent website report posted by the World Economic Forum on January 4, 2019 noted that “Access or ownership is a shift that has taken root, as digital and mobile technologies make it easier to access goods and services on-demand. It is no longer a millennial preference, but a part of modern society.” This same report also notes that future growth will be driven by the middles class, women and the elderly – demographic groups that have played a smaller role in the past.

“I think the sharing economy will grow from two primary reasons: millennials who want access to assets they can’t afford or don’t want to be burdened with, and baby boomers who have assets to share.”

Brock Smith

“I think the sharing economy will grow from two primary sources: millennials who want access to assets they can’t afford or don’t want to be burdened with, and baby boomers who have assets to share,” says Dr. Brock Smith, Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Business at the University of Victoria. Some of the benefits stemming from the sharing economy are enhanced quality of life where individuals have access to assets or other resources at a lower cost and with more variety of options. It can help reduce waste and consumption as people share the same asset and provide an opportunity for people to generate revenue. There are also views that the sharing economy enhances social interactions as people come together for peer-to-peer transactions. Beyond the benefits to individuals, local communities are seeing benefits from tourism marketing when shortterm rentals are being promoted on a variety of platforms. “Small communities who can’t attract investment in a commercial property but want to build their tourism market can benefit from shortterm rentals,” says Wilson. Continued on page 10


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Sharing Economy: Perks and Pitfalls Continued from page 9

“Not only does it help by providing a choice of accommodation types, I think it’s important for communities pursuing tourism to have properties listed on platforms like Airbnb because those platforms are new marketing channels and are trying to highlight more travel information than just accommodations.” On the down side, sharing economy growth can disrupt existing industry such as the impacts on taxi services when ride-sharing platforms are introduced. There may be commercial tax revenue loss when options like short-term rentals reduce the need for commercial accommodation, and there are impacts on product sales when those items are shared. There can be an impact on the cost of products being used in the shared economy, such as when a house becomes a more valuable asset because it can be used as a revenue source. There are also concerns related to personal safety and risk of liability. Smith uses the analogy of kayaks being shared peer-to-peer to illustrate how these emerging sectors can help as well as hinder. If people want a kayak but can’t afford one or don’t have the space to store it, they can find a kayak through the sharing economy to enjoy the asset. If multiple people are using one kayak, the person who owns the asset is generating revenue, but that also means that fewer kayaks are being sold.

“Local governments clearly have unique jurisdictions, such as short-term rentals, but when they do get involved, they need to listen to different perspectives from their community.” The cost to rent the kayak is probably less through peer-to-peer sharing, so the individual saves money on the rental, but kayak rental companies may be affected due to loss of business. There may be increased business tax revenue from storage companies opening up to hold shared assets, but the overall tax revenue from rental and retail sales companies is likely reduced. There are also potential impacts related to increased exposure to personal liability risks in peer-to-peer sharing, such as in situations where the person using the kayak gets hurt. Continued on page 11


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The impacts of the sharing economy are still uncertain as it continues to evolve; however, local governments around the world are assessing how these new sectors will affect their community in terms of challenges and opportunities and determining what their role should be. At the 2018 Sharing Cities Summit, 42 large cities from around the world including Olga Rivkin Toronto and Montreal collaborated to consider how the sharing economy will impact communities. They also signed a Declaration that highlighted 10 principles to guide their approach to the sharing economy. (See Tips & Tactics, page 21). If local governments are going to get involved in the sharing economy, they need to be fully informed about each diverse industry. In a white paper – Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to Sharing Economy developed by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with PwC – there is an overview of the different types of sharing economies, as well as the variety of sectors and how they impact communities. (See Tips & Tactics, page 21). In British Columbia, the sectors that appear to be gaining the most attention by local government are car sharing, short-term rentals, bike sharing and ride sharing. Each sector poses both challenges and opportunities for local governments to consider. As part of being fully informed about each diverse sector, local governments need to be aware of what they can try to influence, what they should try to influence and what they should stay away from. “In my opinion, local government shouldn’t play much of a role because I think Canadians fundamentally want and value equality, and when only some municipalities allow services and others don’t, it creates inequality of access,” says Smith. “Local governments clearly have some unique jurisdictions, such as short-term rentals, but when they do get involved, they need to listen to different perspectives from their community.” When local government does get involved in the sharing economy, it helps to have a clear sense of what the community wants and then determine whether there are opportunities to support these sectors through development amenity agreements and community planning or through regulatory measures. As part of the analysis, it’s important to consider how the local government will manage these requirements operationally. In some cases, efforts to incentivize a sector using community amenity agreements for new developments can result in more problems than positive outcomes. As an example, some local governments are incorporating requirements such as car sharing as part of agreements with developers, but they do not have the staff resources to have oversight of the requirements, or they may select a car share option that doesn’t reflect the priorities for usage in the community.


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“A lot of sharing economy programs can be staff time intensive, so local government managers need to think about how long they will administer the program before they let the market take over, and who will be assigned to administer it,” says Olga Rivkin, a lawyer with Lidstone & Company Law Corporation who specializes in matters related to community planning and development. Rivkin also notes that there are challenges related to securing these types of developer agreements. The standard approach is to hold back a security in cash until the program is in place, but this involves considering how long the local government will hold the money as it can’t be held indefinitely. Continued on page 12

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Sharing Economy: Perks and Pitfalls Continued from page 11

Finance has to be involved because the money has to be tracked properly. Another important consideration is selecting the best product or service to fit the intent of the program. This involves research to gain an understanding of the companies involved and how their service works. As an example, if the purpose of the car share amenity is to change behaviours to reduce the amount of parking required, the type of company selected matters. Some, like Modo, have the car returning to the same location but Car-to-Go doesn’t have that requirement. “To make sure their programs are in step with the sharing economy, local governments may need to follow the market trends,” says Rivkin. “It may be a good idea to talk to the companies who provide the service as they do market research and can advise on what the market is doing and where it’s heading.” Local governments may also choose regulatory options to either support or manage how sharing economy sectors operate in their community. From a planning perspective, local governments may look at zoning to allow for short-term rentals or to determine the number of parking spaces, bike lanes or areas for bike sharing stations that will support alternative transportation. Like the community amenity options, regulatory options come with resource challenges related to enforcement.

“I think the cost of enforcing any bylaw in a municipality is generally quite high and in this type of sharing economy business, like short-term rentals, the process can be quite onerous to enforce,” says Wilson. “Don’t put in an enforcement mechanism that you can’t support.” Wilson also advises that too much regulation may inhibit emerging sectors that are a priority for the community.

Dan Wilson

“I think local governments need to be careful about what they wish for and create the right level of policy around the negative externalities to prevent them from happening, like noise or parking issues from shortterm rentals, but if you want to have these accommodation options, you have to make it easier for people to get in the market,” says Wilson. “Recognize that its accommodation but it’s not a hotel and any safety regulations or parking requirements need to be scaled to what you’re looking at.” Another concern that is often associated with short-term rentals is that these options compromise long-term rental markets and affordable housing. This doesn’t appear to be a simple a correlation. “There’s opinion that short-term rentals will impact long-term housing, but I’m not convinced of that,” says Smith. “Many of the people willing to share parts of their homes are not willing to do so for long-term rentals. Long-term rentals may be impacted when people buy a home with the express purpose of renting it out short term, but many of those homes would not end up being long-term rentals, they would be purchased by people as principal residences.” Wilson agrees, noting that it’s possible to have short-term rentals and develop a strategy that encourages long-term rentals and affordable housing. “It’s possible to walk and chew gum on this. I think there’s a misunderstanding as there are many things impacting affordable housing much more so than short-term rentals,” says Wilson. “Banning shortterm rentals won’t solve your affordable housing problem, and having short-term rentals won’t tank affordable housing. Instead, it’s a good policy to have strategies around both.” It’s clear that when it comes to the sharing economy, things may look simple on the surface, but when you delve into the details it becomes apparent that there may be complications and a significant amount of work involved. Doing the research to gain a thorough understanding of each sector of interest, learning from experiences in other communities and working through the impacts on staff and other resources before committing to local government involvement are all essential. It’s also important to consider the community’s goals and priorities and use these to establish guiding principles for the organization. ❖

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019



Managing Short-term Rentals By Therese Mickelson, ABC

Short-term rentals have become a popular sector in the sharing economy, but they also pose some challenges for local communities. Local government managers from the District of Tofino, City of Nelson and City of Vancouver share their experiences with managing the opportunities and challenges associated with short-term rentals. The need for more regulation around short-term rentals has become evident over the past few years, and even though all three communities are different in terms of size, the concerns being raised are fairly consistent. Concerns range from loss of affordable, long-term rental accommodations as well as negative impacts such as noise, parking and other disruptions that are expected in a commercial zone but generally resented in residential areas. Those who offer short-term rentals are concerned about loss of revenue, and the hotel industry is flagging concerns about inequity that puts them at a competitive disadvantage. In response, all three local governments took steps to develop solutions that would work best in their community.

RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT The process to create a viable approach to managing this industry involved research and community engagement. The City of Nelson conducted an extensive consultation process involving stakeholder meetings with businesses and short-term rental operators, a public town hall meeting and a couple online surveys – one for the community at large and another targeted to short-term operators who were identified by searching Airbnb. “It took about a month for us to overcome people’s initial reaction to the topic of regulating short-term rentals because when we said regulation, they heard ‘banning’ and it was a challenge to help them understand that regulation didn’t mean prohibition,” says Alex Thumm, Planner, Development Services, City of Nelson. “On the other side, there were people who wanted it banned and didn’t understand that it’s better to regulate it. We had to communicate that there are legitimate uses and that it’s going to happen anyway, so it’s better to have compliance and consistent standards.” It helped when the Nelson Short Term Rentals Owner Association was formed and became involved in the consultation in support of regulation. “They were happy about the regulations because they found some people were just dabbling in the Airbnb but not doing well or meeting the same standards, which the Association felt reflected badly on shortterm rentals in Nelson overall,” adds Thumm.


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“We had to communicate that there are legitimate uses and that it’s going to happen anyway, so it’s better to have compliance and consistent standards.”

Alex Thumm

Nelson also did a full review of what other cities were doing to help assess what can be done, what is realistic and what was required to support enforcement, which is where they identified Host Compliance as a good tool for tracking short-term rentals as well as research on the industry. It’s notable that since introducing the bylaw, the City has achieved 100 per cent compliance with its short-term rental operators. In the City of Vancouver, many of the people who came out to speak were operating illegal businesses. “It took great courage for them to come out, but they felt strongly about this and advocated that we find a way for them to continue to be able to operate their short-term rentals,” says Kathryn Holm, Chief Licence Inspector, City of Vancouver. “They feared Council would ban them as has been done in other cities as the extra revenue they generate helps supplement their income.” Continued on page 14

Case Studies: Managing Short-term Rentals Continued from page 13

“Every time we talked to people, we got new ideas,” adds Holm. “Talking to a wide variety of stakeholders, including the people who were really mad at us, helped us as did our robust policy review.” In Tofino, a short-term rental bylaw had actually been in place for many years, starting with the first bylaw in 1997 followed by updates in 2005 and 2007. In the past it had Kathryn Holm been enforced on a complaint basis, but with the growing concerns about housing availability in the community, the decision was made to be more proactive about requiring compliance with the bylaw. The District consulted in advance of the more proactive measures by hosting open houses, breakfasts with the Mayor and other opportunities to provide input and feedback on strategies for increased enforcement. “Our best tools were collaboration internally between staff in bylaw, planning, enforcement, and Mayor and Council while keeping the community informed along the way,” says Brent Baker, Fire Chief and Manager of Protective Services.

“There were a lot of concerns raised by residents about us taking away their livelihood and how it would affect their bottom line, as well as how legal non-conforming would be handled, but it helped to bring all the stakeholders together in one room to discuss options.”

DEVELOPING A BALANCED APPROACH In all three communities, the decision was made to provide options for short-term rentals that would address concerns but allow for this growing sector. Some of the measures are consistent across all three organizations, such as the provincial government’s requirements for short-term rentals to remit Provincial Sales Tax and the local tourism tax for guest stays, but others are customized to suit the needs of the community. The following is a summary of the three regulatory frameworks.

Tofino As a small tourism community, Tofino has some unique considerations affecting its approach to short-term rentals. One is that many homes in the community are owned by non-residents and the other is the need for seasonal accommodations. Continued on page 15

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019


There are also areas that do not permit short-term rentals under zoning or covenants on the property. As a result, the District’s approach to regulating short-term rentals includes the following requirements: • Whole home short-term rentals are not permitted. • Multi-family units are not permitted to host short-term rentals. • A maximum of three rooms and six people can be accommodated with a short-term rental in the home. • There must be a long-term, on-site tenant, which can be the owners of the property or a long-term renter. • Homes with an accessory building or secondary suite can host short-term rentals as long as they have a long-term, on-site resident on the property. • Short-term rentals are only permitted in approved zones. • Every business application must be inspected, and the rooms identified for short-term rentals clearly marked as part of the licensing.

• There must be parking provided either on the property, or through a leased space from a neighbour. • There is a maximum of three, short-term rental homes permitted on a block, which includes both sides of the street, and there is a city-wide cap on total short-term rentals. • If the property owner can prove that most of the time the unit is used for long-term rentals, such as students, they may receive a licence for the interim months. Continued on page 16

Nelson In addition to the similar concerns raised in other communities, the City of Nelson received complaints from the local hotel industry. Hotels where actually the first to start flagging issues with the growth in shortterm rentals because these rentals did not have to pay the same fees or taxes. In response, a key component of the City’s bylaw was to require short-term rental operators to become members of the regional tourism agency, which also meant they were required to pay the provincial sales tax and tourism tax. This provided a more level playing field with hotels and bed and breakfasts who already paid both taxes. This was done prior to the provincial government requirements. Another unique aspect of the City’s bylaw is its flexible licence periods. While all short-term rental operations must be licensed, they have an option to select a one-year, four-month or one-month licence.

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“Most communities have a standard licence period but our residents with short-term rentals told us they don’t just want a full year as a lot of them only rent for a period of time,” says Thumm. “While it is a commercial use, it isn’t a bricks and mortar business where you build a store and operate Monday to Friday every week, and that’s okay, so let’s not force them into a longer licence.”

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Some of the other key elements of the bylaw requirements for shortterm rentals include the following:

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• Principal residency is required. To help preserve the long-term market and address outside investors, every dwelling that is offering short-term rentals must have someone living on site as a principal resident. They don’t have to live there all the time, but it must be their principal residence. • Safety inspections are required. Short-term rentals must meet basic safety regulations as dictated by the building code, such as smoke and carbon-dioxide detectors, as well as safety considerations related to the structure, electrical and access to exit doors.

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Anna Delaney at

Case Studies: Managing Short-term Rentals Continued from page 15

“Even in a small community, you need someone who is eyes on and hands on to follow up on everything. If you can’t dedicate that kind of resource support, don’t bother with the program.” Brent Baker

Vancouver The City of Vancouver’s approach included developing a set of guiding principles that would help to create a balanced way to move forward. The key guiding principle is to protect the long-term rental supply for people who want to live and work in Vancouver. Additional guiding principles were to ensure health and safety, encourage neighbourhood fit, enable supplemental income, support the tourism industry, promote regulatory equity and encourage compliance. Some of the core elements of the City’s bylaw for short-term rentals are aligned with these guiding principles as follows: • Principal residency is required. • The dwelling must be safe, which means it meets requirements to be a legal dwelling unit with safety measures like smoke detectors and accessible exits. • Short-term rentals are not permitted in additional dwelling units on the property such as a basement suite or laneway house, unless they serve as someone’s principal residence, as these types of units can be used as long-term rentals. • The short-term rental use must be approved by the building strata. • If the person is a rental tenant and wants to host short-term rentals, the landlord must approve this use. • A licence is required as short-term rentals involve operating a business from the home.

“We’ve created a very low barrier to get into short-term rentals,” says Holm. “The fee is low, you get your licence in 10 minutes – no other business licence has that option – and we make it clear that we’re not out to create problems for homeowners, we’re here to help them.”

ENFORCEMENT All three cities made it clear that enforcement is an essential part of the program for short-term rentals and that this involves dedicating resources to this area as well as leveraging the tools and resources available. As a first step, it’s critical to set up the bylaw in a way that ensures the regulations are enforceable. As an example, it’s much easier to track advertising for short-term rentals compared to the actual rental. Tools like Host Compliance are designed to search the various platforms for short-term rentals and provide a comprehensive list of the property addresses listed. For Tofino, the shift from complaint-based to proactive enforcement meant that they needed to have one person dedicated to business licence inspections and enforcement for short-term rentals. “Even in a small community, you need someone who is eyes on and hands on to follow up on everything,” says Baker. “If you can’t dedicate that kind of resource support, don’t bother with the program.” Tofino has also designed its bylaw to use bylaw notices instead of tickets as this makes it easier for them to deal with disputes. “We know people will challenge us, so we are prepared to deal with the challenge at a lower cost by using the bylaw notice,” adds Baker. In Vancouver, the scope of managing short-term rentals is obviously on a much larger scale. At the time of their regulations being put in place, there were approximately 6,600 unregulated short-term rentals in the City. A key tool for the City is a landmark agreement with Airbnb, which has added a business licence field to its platform and makes it a mandatory field for all listings. Operators must include their business licence number to post listings. While Airbnb does not check the accuracy of the licence number, they do provide the list to the City. If the licence number is not accurate, the City initiates an investigation and any necessary enforcement. The City is also in discussions with Expedia Group to try to come to a similar agreement. Continued on page 17 A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019


“The day enforcement went into place, Airbnb delisted about 2,400 operators because they had from April to September to get a licence and had not done so,” says Holm. “It’s been great working with Airbnb; they’re a good partner. They’ve done a lot of communication with their operators to ensure the rules are being followed.”

“They may be coming for a family reunion or to visit family and want to be able to stay in areas other than downtown where most of our hotels are located, or they want access to more space and kitchen facilities. So these short-term rentals are meeting a different need for a different market.”

Regardless of the work involved to put bylaws in place and carry out enforcement, the benefits of a balanced approach that allows short-term rentals while addressing community concerns is evident in all three communities.

It’s also clear that the growth in short-term rentals as part of the sharing economy is a trend that will continue to expand in future. The key is to stay informed and look at how to find the best fit for the local community.

“I think providing an opportunity for individuals to take part in this kind of industry means they have more opportunity to experience a good quality of life where they live,” says Baker. “In an area like Tofino where there are not vast employment opportunities, this gives them options and allows them to build a life out here, doing things they love in a place they love.”

“I think it’s the tip of the iceberg and we’re going to see these economies evolve in ways that are tricky to predict,” says Holm. “It’s important to act now and not wait too long or we’ll get too far behind and be out of sync with industry. We have an obligation to regulate – whether business activities or safe accommodations for tourists – so I think it’s important that municipalities are acting to respond to what the community needs with respect to these emerging economies to maintain our relevance.”

In Nelson, it’s also about creating more choice when it comes to accommodation, which supports their tourism market. “A lot of guests in short-term rentals would not be well-suited to conventional tourism locations like hotels,” says Thumm.


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Vancouver Public Bike Share Kateland Clarke via

By Therese Mickelson, ABC

While bike sharing programs in some cities have been plagued by issues including vandalism and theft, Vancouver’s public bike share system has continued to grow into a popular transportation option. The City’s program is called Mobi by Shaw Go, with the brand name owned by the City of Vancouver and the system operated by Vancouver Bike Share, with Shaw Communications Inc. as the corporate sponsor. This collaborative approach provides external expertise for operating the system, while also ensuring there is continuity in the company name if the contractor changes. The success of the City’s program is evident as there continues to be increases in both bike usage and requests for expanding the system to new areas. “A number of worldwide public bike systems don’t make it to year three, but we’re seeing growth and excellent safety stats, which is great,” says Scott Edwards, Manager, Public Bike Share, City of Vancouver. “We’ve seen growth year-over-year in ridership, growth in the coverage area and perhaps our greatest win is the support we’re hearing from locals from a mobility point of view as well as business benefits.” Once fully implemented, 2,000 seven-speed, adult-sized bikes will be available at 200 solar-powered stations. The initial public bike share service area included the downtown and central Broadway area. With the system expanded east to the Commercial Drive area, its boundaries are now the downtown peninsula, Arbutus Street, 16th Avenue and Victoria Drive. One of the interesting outcomes of this program is that 80 per cent of the bike users are locals with an annual pass rather than day-pass users who are more likely visitors to the city. “Statistics are showing that we are providing a mode of transportation that is replacing the need for cars and reducing pressure on transit along corridors where people are linking from transit to bikes, which may also help reduce crowding on buses,” says Edwards.

These outcomes are directly supporting the goals the City of Vancouver established when developing the program. In addition to providing health benefits, the public bike share system was developed to extend the reach of transit and walking trips, reduce the need for personal vehicle trips and encourage greater interest in cycling as well increase cycling ridership. The success of Mobi by Shaw Go public bike sharing is due in large part to the amount of research and planning that was done prior to implementing the program. “One of the things we did years ago was to reach out to other cities in North America, Europe and Australia to get their expertise and experiences so we’d be more aware of the pitfalls and benefits as well as things we could identify as performance indicators,” says Edwards. “We spent hours on the phone learning from our peers, so in terms of a sharing economy, sharing knowledge was the first step, and all they asked is that we pay it forward by sharing my knowledge with others.” The first step was to make sure there was a sufficient cycling network in place in order to determine where the bike sharing system area could be supported. Ideally, the system would have dedicated space away from traffic. “Nineteen of our 20 busiest stations are on or near our AAA bike network. The AAA network aims to make cycling safe, convenient, comfortable and fun for ‘all ages and abilities’, which typically means separated from traffic,” says Edwards. “When novice cyclists are worried about being on the road, they may use sidewalks, which isn’t good for pedestrians.” Continued on page 19

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019


With a bike network in place, the City proceeded with a request for proposals to select a company to operate the business and developed the trademark name Mobi for the bike share program. The initial term of the contract is for five years and the company, Vancouver Bike Share, is responsible for the day-to-day operations. They secured the necessary funding to deliver the public Scott Edwards bike share system with operations generally supported by corporate sponsorship revenues, membership and user fees. They also ensure the system is safe and usable, performing regular maintenance on the bikes and by providing helmets with each bike. This business model is similar to many other public bike share systems in North America. To help the public bike share system succeed, the City provided $5 million for the launch and operation of the system for five years and is providing ongoing in-kind support, including some station sites.

Prior to launching the system, the City also made changes to bylaws to allow for the bike stations both on private land and public property including on-street locations. As part of the contract, the City also established key performance indicators. “Where systems are successful, there is often some level of government support in place, whether through in-kind such as space for fixed stations on public or private land, or through financial arrangements that allow for incentives for performance,” says Edwards. “Some cities are looking for a zero-cost option; however, there are trade-offs. Concerns regarding the management of the public realm can be difficult to address if you do not have a contract with the operator.” Edwards also notes that it’s important to do the research on the type of system and contractor selected as there are lot of options on the market. Part of this involves understanding comparable models and requirements for different types and sizes of communities. The industry continues to grow rapidly with dockless systems, e-bikes and other options quickly emerging in the marketplace. Continued on page 20


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Case Study: Vancouver Public Bike Share Continued from page 19

“You know your city. Look for and learn from systems in comparable cities. If you’re a smaller municipality, don’t compare yourself to London. And even if you’re smaller, don’t compare your community to a university-based city,” adds Edwards. “When it comes to selecting a contractor and equipment, you get what you pay for. There are less expensive options out there, but you want to have a strong relationship and a clearly defined contract with your operator to ensure that you’re achieving your desired outcomes.” In Vancouver, the system being used is supplied by Smoove, a French company that supplies systems around the world including Paris, Moscow and Helsinki. Users of the system gain access through the purchase of a day pass or with an annual membership. Annual memberships generally cost $100-$150, which then allows unlimited trips as long as they don’t exceed the maximum trip time allowed, which may be 30 or 60 minutes. Bikes can be dropped off at different station to allow for one-way travel or “trip linking” to transit or other modes. Those who use the system have indicated that the top benefits are the convenience of the one-way trips, the fact that it’s a faster option, especially for the last few kilometres of a transportation trip, and that they don’t have to worry about bike theft.

“You know your city. Look for and learn from systems in comparable cities. If you’re a smaller municipality, don’t compare yourself to London.” “Interestingly, more than two-thirds of Mobi users have their own bike, so that’s telling in terms of the benefit of offering one-way trips and not having to worry about bike theft. It’s one of the reasons why we have so many trips made by commuters,” says Edwards. The barriers most frequently identified by users are more difficult to address. Topography and weather conditions are not easy to solve. Easy access to stations and an expanded system area are some that can be addressed through the partnership between the City and Vancouver Bike Share. To address coverage, the City is looking at additional station locations. This involves looking at options for redevelopment of publiclyowned space such as parks and community centres in high demand areas. Industry best practices suggest that stations be installed every two to three blocks to serve 150-metre radius catchment areas and to maintain a station density of 10 stations per kilometre. Part of this expansion also involves working with local businesses to help them understand the benefits of having bike stations even though it means giving up a few parking spaces. The City reviewed parking and trip making since the system launch and found that trip making has improved along with mobility. These additional trips support livability within the city, including support for businesses. Another study completed in North America analyzed credit card spending and showed a benefit for businesses within the bike share system coverage. Looking to the future, the City is working with Vancouver Bike Share and Smoove to explore opportunities to add e-bikes to the current fleet. E-assist bikes would make it easier to connect new neighbourhoods and to address the concern about topography. The City has also worked to reduce barriers to access by launching the Vancity Community Pass which provides discounted annual memberships to qualified users. Through research, planning and ongoing improvements, Vancouver’s bike sharing program is showing continued progress to benefit the community. When asked about what local governments should do when they want to initiate bike sharing programs, Edwards focuses on the research and planning. “Don’t rush in – the research will take longer than you think,” says Edwards. “Reach out and talk to your peers in cities using these systems and do research online. It’s also important to do a review of internal goals, know what type of system and equipment you want. How will this integrate into the public realm? When you have an understanding of what your city needs, be sure that there is strong political support.” ❖ A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019


tips & tactics Sharing Economy Resources The following are resources on the sharing economy and its impact on communities, as well as guides and resources related to regulating short-term rentals and implementing bike sharing.

Sharing Economy and Local Government • Shareable, a non-profit news, resources and connection hub for the sharing economy, including an e-newsletter: • Free book Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons provides sharing-related case studies and model policies from more than 80 cities in 35 countries: sharing-cities • Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to Sharing Economy white paper by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with PwC provides a comprehensive look at the sharing economy, what it encompasses and how it affects cities: • Common Declaration of Principles and Commitments for Sharing Cities signed by cities around the world including Montreal and Toronto: • Local Governments and the Sharing Economy report by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network: • Harnessing the Power of the Sharing Economy report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), in partnership with PwC Canada and CGI: public-sector-government/sharing-economy.html

Short-term Rentals Regulation Guides • Government of Ontario guide: • City of Toronto guide: bgrd/backgroundfile-104807.pdf • Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Ontario%20Office/2017/06/Regulating%20Airbnb%20 and%20the%20Short-Term%20Rental%20Market_FINAL.pdf • Host Compliance white paper: A Practical Guide to Effectively Regulating Short-term Rentals on the Local Government Level: • Host Compliance white paper: Could You BNB My Neighbor? A Planner’s Take on the Sharing Economy: • Hotel Association of Canada: A Modern Framework for Regulating Short-term Rentals: • Sustainable Economies Law Centre: Regulating Short-Term Rentals: A Guidebook for Equitable Policy: • EfficientGov: Resources to Help Cities Respond to Shortterm Rentals:

Public Bike-sharing Organizations Short-term Rentals Enforcement Software • Short-term rentals enforcement support software: Host Compliance makes it easy for municipalities to implement and enforce fair and effective short-term rental rules:


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• North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA): • National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) guidelines for the regulation and management of shared active transportation:

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MEMBERS PAGE OUR TOWN: VILLAGE OF FRUITVALE Nestled in the Beaver Valley along Highway 3B and just above the Columbia River, the Village of Fruitvale’s community enjoys the beauty of its rural, mountain surroundings. The Village’s early European settlement around 1893 (then known as Beaver Siding) began as a railway stop and followed thousands of years of local area presence by the Kutenai (Kootenay) First Nations bands of the Lower Columbia River basin. Today’s Fruitvale (pop. 2000) features a large event hall, well-tended playing fields and a full suite of local services. A wide range of outdoor facilities including trails, ski areas, waterfronts and parks combined with a local arena and curling rink give local area residents of all ages plenty of options for recreation during all seasons. The compact downtown with its mix of businesses provides local residents easy access to daily shopping. Nearby employment in the health, metals and lumber industries have offered historical employment and continue to attract newcomers to the Village. Additionally, Fruitvale’s well-known Age-Friendly program caters to hundreds of seniors throughout the Beaver Valley (including Area A and Montrose village), as does its Beaver Valley Youth program to the younger crowd. Two regional airports, each minutes away, provide Fruitvale locals and visitors easy access in and out of the area. Neighbouring Selkirk College offers residents postsecondary education programs, and a regional hospital nearby in Trail ensures reliable health services. In order to advance its commitment to grow-in-place and bolster its downtown development, Fruitvale recently purchased the former Beaver Valley Middle School site, a 3.7 ha property. Through assistance from BC Housing and the Columbia Basin Trust, the Village will soon begin planning the site’s development, with medium density housing being touted. The Village draws hundreds of Beaver Valley locals to two seasonal events: the Beaver Valley May Days and Jingle Down Main in early December. At each, a hugely popular train ride sponsored by the local lumber mill takes passengers along the old rail line to the scenic Beaver Valley Falls. The Village also participates in spirit events in nearby Trail and has adopted a collaborative role with its regional neighbours along Highway 3B in part through the Local Columbia Community Development Team Society. The last few years have also exposed the challenges of operating a full-service community within the context of asset management. Fruitvale has confronted its aging infrastructure with a combination of incremental rate and parcel tax increases. Full-cost accounting and rational pricing remain as short-term objectives to ensure that the storm, water and sanitary sewer utilities perform solidly as core services. Adaptation to climate change and the need for resilient infrastructure must be integrated into asset management. Fruitvale’s scenic surroundings and small-town feel have made it a magnet for transplanted seniors and younger families in recent years. This appeal, combined with a further tightening of the property market throughout the region, has led to significant increases in property assessments.

A popular train ride takes passengers along the old rail line to scenic Beaver Valley Falls during some of Fruitvale’s civic events.

Meanwhile, the price rationalization for utilities and general administrative servicing that has coincided with higher assessments has prompted affordability concerns from long-term residents. Both staff and Council have placed additional effort on informing residents about the necessary costs to maintain and upgrade facilities and infrastructure. The setting of fees and mill rates for local services against increasing assessments will remain a highprofile issue as the Village addresses its infrastructure deficits. The Village’s natural surroundings also present the threat of seasonal wildfires, floods and landslides. A surrounding expanse of forest coupled with the Village’s lower settlement pattern within a drainage basin of a mountain valley has led to increased concern and awareness of the community’s vulnerabilities. Fruitvale relies on a strong response framework from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s Emergency Operations Centre and the Southeast Region Office of Emergency Management BC, and it participates in annual informational meetings to understand evolving standards. Following the October 2018 elections, Fruitvale’s 10 staff and five-member Council will implement a new Strategic Plan that directs the Village’s operations and servicing levels. The way forward sees planning for infrastructure, economic development, housing and emergency preparedness as key components of continued success and increased resilience. – Mike Maturo, Chief Administrative Officer

A Quarterly Publication of the LGMA Exchange – Spring 2019


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Exchange Spring 2019  

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