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Review scrutinizes short-term rentals in Collingwood

Public survey open until Sept. 30 asks residents what they see are the challenges and opportunities for the Airbnb-type rentals
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Downtown Collingwood on a cloudy morning. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

The Town of Collingwood is putting short-term rental rules under a microscope and out for public review to inform potential changes to the local bylaws governing the so-called sharing economy. 

As a rule, most short-term accommodations outside of hotels and motels are prohibited in Collingwood by the town's zoning bylaw. Bed and breakfast units are allowed for short-term rental only if the owner or proprietor also lives in the same building where the units are being rented. 

Despite this rule, staff have identified about 300 active short-term rental units in Collingwood in February 2022 listed on popular online rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO,, etc. A short-term rental refers to a unit rented for fewer than 31 days.

While reporting to council in June, the town's licensing and compliance officer, Amanda Fone, said there's a concern about how the town's current rules can be enforced given the resources available and the clear evidence of hundreds of active rentals in town. 

Between 2014 and 2022, the town’s bylaw services division received 263 calls for service related to STAs. In 2019, they received 58 calls, in 2020, they received 54, in 2021, they received 81 and in 2022 as of June 1, they received 33 calls.

There is potential for Collingwood council to make short-term rentals legal, which could include control measures such as licensing, registration, restricting units to certain zones in town, and adding an accommodation tax. 

Next door in The Town of The Blue Mountains, the town has gone through a years-long process to establish a licensing regime, which includes allocating certain areas of town where short-term rentals are permitted, requiring owners to get a licence and inspections for safety, and regular tracking of complaints and/or infractions. 

"While other municipal approaches and best practices will be considered, the unique needs and circumstances of residents in the Town of Collingwood must be the focus," states a news release from the town. 

Town council has asked staff to seek public input on the issue before any changes to the town's bylaws are proposed. 

A public survey on the Engage Collingwood website is now open, and will close Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m. the data collected will be reported to council. As added incentive, the town is entering participants into a draw for a $100 gift card to a Collingwood restaurant. There will be two gift card prizes to be won. 

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 13 years of experience as a local journalist
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