Allowing B&Bs more rooms common sense

It seems like a rule that’s holding back small business owners in Lake Cowichan.

It seems like a rule that’s holding back small business owners in Lake Cowichan.

Bed and Breakfasts in the town that weren’t fortunate enough to be grandfathered when the regulations took effect, are only allowed to have a maximum of two rooms.

Not only do we imagine that’s discouraged more than one person looking to set up such an establishment at the lake from buying a property in the town limits, it seems like using a sledgehammer to swat a fly.

The reasoning behind the limitation is apparently a concern about adequate parking.

Of course neighbours don’t want strings of cars parked along the road, but surely that could just as easily be taken care of by a requirement to provide a certain amount of on-site parking. The number of stalls/parking area could be determined based on the number of rooms a B&B has. Problem solved.

The unwillingness to look at changing this rule post-haste is puzzling given that Sunfest is set to descend on the Cowichan Lake area this summer.

While it brings a lot of people in their motorhomes, or who want the camping experience, there will also be those who are more partial to being able to come back to a clean, cool room with a private working shower after a night of entertainment.

Not preparing in advance, but instead taking a wait and see approach to visitor numbers seems wacky.

If by some chance there ended up being some vacancies that’s up to the business owner to address, not the town.

Even outside of the Sunfest numbers, one would think that attracting more people to come to the community is the goal, and B&Bs can play a big part in that if they have more rooms to offer.

Then there are the locals who are just trying to make a success of their small business and make ends meet. Many B&B owners don’t subsist solely off the income they make from offering accommodations.

But to those who are, a couple more rooms can make a big difference in being able to make it through the lean winter months.

On top of everything else, they’re now competing with things like Airbnb, which have none of the restrictions on them that traditional B&Bs live with.

Seems like it would be more palatable to allow local small business owners who want to play by the rules to have a couple more rooms in their regulated establishments.

If the town wants to allow time for folks opposed to a change to make their wishes known, now is the time to do it, then move things along.