The debate over short-term rentals could heat up on Bowen Island Monday night.

Staff are slated to recommend the municipality opt into the province’s new short-term rental legislation at Monday’s council meeting.

The new regulations, which restrict short-term rental use to homes that are a primary residence or secondary suite, automatically apply to cities of 10,000 people or more.

Smaller communities like Bowen Island, which has a population of 4,200, can voluntarily opt in by the end of March.

Mayor Andrew Leonard said the community has been split on the proposal.


Click to play video: 'Bowen Island to decide whether to voluntarily opt into B.C.’s new short term rental rules'


Bowen Island to decide whether to voluntarily opt into B.C.’s new short term rental rules


Many who oppose adopting the new regulations cite the need for short-term rentals to help them pay for the maintenance of cabins that have been in their family for generations.

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Those who support it have raised concerns about tourism pressure on the island and the lack of affordable housing.


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“The rental market on Bowen is a difficult market. Bowen Island has primarily been built out as single-family residential; there is a dearth of rental accommodations on the island,” Leonard said.

“In the summer when we get impacted — I think more severely than most municipalities in Metro Vancouver — by the tourism season, it is very difficult for businesses to find accommodations for their workers.”


Click to play video: 'Bowen Island considers opting in to short term rental rules'


Bowen Island considers opting in to short term rental rules


Bowen Island already has regulations governing short-term rentals, implemented in 2020, which allow a full home to be used for short-term rentals for fewer than 120 days a year after acquiring a business licence.

A 2023 review of short-term rentals on the island identified 25 properties on the island being used for short-term rental that did not have the owner using the home as their primary residence.

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