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North Pender Island

March 9, 2011 Trust Presentation (Vacation Rentals on North Pender)

It is ironic that I was at Trust Council 8 years ago making a presentation on vacation rentals and today I am here again with the same topic. Why is this ironic? In 2003 I made a presentation because I had heard negative political rumblings about vacation rentals and I wanted to get clarification of the Trust’s position.

Following my presentation promoting the virtues of vacation rentals, I received a letter from the Chair of the Trust, David Essig, thanking me for my presentation and confirming that (and I quote) “land use regulations on North Pender Island currently permit vacation rentals and that your Local Trust Committee does not have plans to change the existing regulations.” 

Based on that information and considerable other positive support by the Trust, I completed my homes on North Pender for use by family and friends and to rent to other families as well. Several other Pender Island owners made similar investments based on information from the Trust that their properties could be used this way.

Today I am under threat by a public notice of the North Pender LTC of a fine of up to $5,000 per day for carrying out the same activity that you, the Trust, told me was permitted. No change has been made in the Land Use Bylaw in those 8 years regarding rentals.

As I understand the law, if there was a change in the land use bylaws, those who were operating before the change are entitled to be grandfathered as provided for in the Local Government Act.

We put our faith in the Trust’s integrity and made decisions accordingly but action now being taken on North Pender has shaken many peoples’ faith in the Trust as more become aware of this duplicity.

We are ordinary citizens who believe that we are, and always have been, acting legally and we resent being portrayed as lawbreakers. We just want to get on with our lives and do not want this to proceed further. However, if given no choice, we will defend ourselves.

You may have been told that the Conconi case on North Pender Island confirms that residential dwellings cannot be used for short term vacation rentals anywhere in the whole Trust area. This was stated in a news release by your current Chair. The statement is wrong. South Pender permits vacation rentals outright as a principal use, Saturna permits them as a form of home occupation and they are permitted on Gabriola by temporary use permit. Furthermore our association (PIVAA) requested intervenor status in the Conconi appeal to get our position clarified by the court. You, the Trust, opposed our intervention claiming that we are not affected because we are different from Mr. Conconi and his resort “The Timbers”. We are amazed that the Trust is now arguing the opposite position - claiming the Conconi decision is justification for prosecuting us. (see the Trust Press Release)

Why should this concern you, the Trust Council when you have no jurisdiction over our island. Because of money! With current fiscal restraint, many legitimate Trust needs may go under funded. Is it appropriate that more of our tax dollars and the Trust’s budget be consumed pursuing in the courts, an issue based on such duplicity? We respectfully ask that you consider this misuse of resources when you assign your budget for the coming year if you are asked by North Pender trustees to sanction more litigation funds to prosecute those who acted in good faith based on information from the Trust itself.

As time does not permit me to go through the history of this issue on North Pender Island, our association has provided each of you with:

We ask that you please take time to read both items to get a more complete perspective of the issue

Bruce Pendergast

Pender Islands Vacation Accommodations Association (PIVAA)

Watch of Video of Bruce Pendergast at the March 9th, 2011 Trust Council Meeting.

Mike Aston at the Trust Council

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