City of Busselton propose a new holiday home policy

Image by Pixabay.
Image by Pixabay.

A draft policy which could see more holiday homes approved in the region is currently out for public consultation by the City of Busselton.

The proposed policy suggests removing location restrictions for holiday homes and include revised provisions which homes must comply to in order to be approved.

At the moment, the city’s policy does not support holiday homes in some residential areas such as Vasse, Yalyalup, Provence, Country Road Estate and parts of Dunsborough.

City of Busselton director of planning and development services Paul Needham said the policy would mean that holiday homes could be approved in areas where they would generally be declined.

Mr Needham said while they expected to see an increase in the number of holiday homes they did not expect it to be a significant increase.

“The draft provisions provide much more detailed criteria around the design and layout of holiday homes and in general, applications would be refused if they do not meet the criteria,” he said.

At this stage, the city does not have a proposal to cap the number of holiday homes in the region, with Mr Needham stating there is no legislative basis to do so.

“There is clearly a significant level of interest at present in holiday homes, especially given the emergence of Airbnb,” he said. 

“The city will continue to engage with the state government, other local governments, with industry and with the community on issues related to holiday homes.

“Any ‘cap’ on holiday home numbers would require state legislation.

“Whilst that is not something which is impossible, it would be a very significant departure from the approach to regulation that has prevailed in the past and prevails currently, which is essentially to let the market decide.”

Following the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre study report ‘The Impact of Airbnb on WA’s Tourism Industry,’ concerns have been raised by traditional accommodation providers.

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association interim chief executive officer Steve Harrison said there were concerns there was an uneven playing field with regards to Airbnb hosts.

“At the same time, others believe it fills a gap in the market particularly during our busiest seasons,” he said.

“The report found that Airbnb holidaymakers and guests differed from traditional WA visitors on some features, including the locations they were visiting from, who they travelled with and where they visited.

“These findings indicate that Airbnb is attracting a different type of visitor however this is still challenging traditional accommodation providers in a competitive market, particularly with the lower levels of obligations required from Airbnb hosts.

”MRBTA believes it is important that all Government policymakers and local businesses continue to monitor the impact of Airbnb and find the right balance between regulation and fostering evolution and development.”

Read more here