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Tofino cracks down on illegal vacation rentals

One of Vancouver Island's hottest tourism destinations is raising concerns about illegal short-term rentals, saying the businesses take much-needed housing away from locals.

The District of Tofino says won a B.C. Supreme Court case against a condo owner who operated a short-term rental, despite the South Chesterman Beach Homes property not being zoned for it.

Tofino Mayor Dan Law says the city was patient in enforcing the rules before taking action.

“We start with voluntary compliance – we have issued tickets. And when that doesn’t garner compliance, we go to the Supreme Court for an injunction,” Law said.

The South Chesterman Beach Homes development has never allowed tourist accommodations like Airbnbs, nor has it received business licences to operate them.

While Tofino has more than 200 legal short-term rentals, the district says it still struggles with those skirting its bylaw.

"The vast majority of short-term business rentals in Tofino have a business licence and are compliant,” the mayor said. “There’s maybe 10 per cent, or something like that, that aren’t.”

Law says the short-term rental rules are part of a plan to improve the amount of housing for people who live in the district. Top Stories

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