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Sidney councillor concerned about conversion of condo into hotel

Coun. Sara Duncan worries about housing supply
Coun. Sara Duncan has concerns about the potential conversion of a condominium building in downtown Sidney to a hotel. (Photo courtesy Sara Duncan)

A Sidney councillor is concerned about the pending conversion of a local condominium building in the downtown core into a hotel.

Coun. Sara Duncan expressed worries as council discussed the enforcement of the municipality’s short-term rental bylaw.

“The thing that we discovered is that there is an entire condo-building switching to a hotel, which is a much bigger concern to me in terms of reducing the housing supply than these few remaining illegal (short-term rentals),” she said during council’s Dec. 20 meeting.

Overall, the municipality’s bylaw concerning short-term rentals strikes the right balance between the various interests, she said.

RELATED: Sidney hotels struggle to fill job openings

Details about the pending conversion appear sparse. According to the discussion during the Dec. 20, the building is zoned C1 downtown commercial, which permits hotels.

“A hotel is simply defined as a collection of rooms accessed by a common lobby area,” said Corey Newcomb, Sidney’s senior manager of long-range planning.

Once converted, the building would be subject to higher commercial rather than residential taxes, he added. Staff later told Black Press Media that the municipality cannot share application details yet because the building is in the pre-application phase.

Staff promised additional details once the file becomes active, likely in early 2022. The application involves a small building with fewer than 10 units.

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