Resident defends vacation rentals in Oliver

Resident defends vacation rentals in Oliver


Lyonel Doherty 
Oliver Chronicle

A vacation rental operator in Oliver is defending the practice after Town council recently discussed regulating the industry.

In correspondence to the Town, Russell Work said the perceived concerns are these properties will adversely impact the community and violate zoning bylaws, not to mention reduce the availability of long-term rental accommodation.

He disagrees, except when a person purchases a house, chooses not to live in it and rents it as an unoccupied owner property.

Work said Oliver is not Vancouver, noting his vacation rental does not benefit from year-round demand (only from April to October).

“The chance of an investor purchasing a property to operate solely as an unoccupied rental are slim to none. The demand just isn’t there.”

With regard to noise and disrupting neighbourhoods, Work said he sees no difference between these types of rentals and any others.

“I can assure you that we have never had any issues with our guests making unruly noise or disturbing the neighbourhood.”

On the contrary, Work said he has had numerous issues with tenants in long-term rentals occupying a single house on his street.

 • Read more: Town of Oliver scrutinizes vacation rentals

He pointed out his compliance with the Town’s request for a $750 deposit to cover potential complaints.

“I believe this is totally unnecessary and the money should be refunded. Do you require the same of all the registered B&B (bed and breakfast) owners? What about all those people who have long-term rentals in their houses?”

Work said it is council’s job to ensure fair and equitable treatment in the local accommodation business. He also believes there is no need for the adoption of “draconian measures” to regulate vacation rentals.

Work’s other concern is being “double assessed” a sewer charge on his utility bill after the Town’s investigation to identify vacation rental and Airbnb accommodations. He called this “unilateral” action was taken because of the apparent increased load on the sewer system.

“This is blatantly unfair. And I object. The policy change has not been thought through properly.”

Work is proposing that a more transparent and equitable sewer charging system be implemented. He says the more water you use, the more you pay.

Using the mantra, “water in equals water out,” take the water meter usage for quarters 4 and quarter 1. “Few if any residents will be irrigating over these six months. All this water coming into the house will be used and flushed down the drains. Double this volume and you will have a very accurate assessment of the total water being fed into the sewer system from each dwelling for the year.”

Work said there is no need to have a reading or fixed charges; everyone knows that they pay for what they use.

Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger said Work has some interesting ideas. “I think it could be done because we’re all on water meters so the amount of water equates to the amount of sewage.”

He said the sewer bylaw states that sewer rates are charged to each dwelling unit. But he added if somebody is operating a bed and breakfast suite that isn’t considered another dwelling unit, that probably wouldn’t have an extra sewer fee attached to it.

Council passed a motion to respond to Work regarding his concerns and ideas about an alternate sewer fee system.


  1. Mr Work is on the right path. To me it seems that the council is simply on a money grab. We have water meters so water usage is going to be paid.We have bylaws to govern, noise, litter, parking etc. Weather the property is owner occupied or rented out should be of no concern to anyone other than the owner. Let it go council we already pay more than enough property tax.

  2. I am in agree with Town Council, It is true that rents like this are increasing and we need more long terms rentals, we need to bring balance, if people who has the money and own not just one but sometimes more that tree, starts to rent just for vacations, is bringing outsiders just temporaly when we need more long term housing, at least for the 13 years that our children needs to be at school, there is part of the population here in Oliver who dreams to own a house to live in it and grow their children, this is a family oriented town, we have ones of the most great schools, elementary, middle and high school, why bring more tourism in a little Town like this when we need other type of services an structure before planning to rent just for personal interest that benefits just a part of the wealthy people, not to the mayority of families who are already struggle with out an owned house , wich in any moment their Landlords can decide to give them an eviction to have a vacation rentals, and there is NOT ENOUGH HOUSING, and prices are over rating! imagine if everybody has this mind set business! where our children supposed to grow??? If you want to have this business, move to a bigger city that has a better structure for tourism as well, we need unions and politicians who protect the interest of the minorities, the families who needs their children in school here in Oliver, I appreciate to the Town Council to protect the interest of families and bring the balance to this town before became impossible to a regular income families to live here. We dont even have a salary more than 11 dlls hour for the most jobs, and wealthy people is trying to bring a style of life that doesnt match with the average population of this town, we have enough with all the people who come from outside to work in agriculture to this little town, and the tourism that wineryes brings, please lets bring first more benefits to families and more opportunities to long rental agreements! Lets get real, Oliver is a Family Town! Are you ever visit the Hospital in Oliver in Summer? emergency is full, we dont have enough doctors and you some people want to bring more tourism? lets get real please.

  3. Oliver also still has a shortage of accommodations for summer season visitors, these rentals are a great opportunity for visitors to stay in our community and to spend their hard earned dollars in our local economy. This helps our small businesses survive and new young families make a living.
    On another note, many Oliver residents have a steady stream of visitors throughout the holiday season, the Town isn’t applying extra taxes to those houses for additional sewage and waste. Just my thoughts.

  4. Russell’s issues are completely valid and he has “hit the nail” on the proverbial head. Why are these necessary short term vacation rentals being harassed? There are several homes in the area that accommodate many more people than a vacation rental suite would ever include. The water meters dictate usage and cost. Why charge a discriminatory fee to this particular type of valuable and needed short term housing for tourist visitors when B&B’s, long term rentals etc, are exempt from this financial liability?

  5. I find it amusing that respondents have such a weak ability in the use of the English language!!! Check out the spelling, sentence construction, punctuation, etc. Amusing for sure!
    Anyway, I feel that unless people doing vacation rentals are paying a commensurate amount of taxation, the practice should be totally disallowed as it cuts the legs out from commercial operators who pay the big taxes and overheads. Wanna make a buck? Then buck up!