Feedback sought on updated Private Home Accommodation proposal

Time is running out for people to let Parks Canada know how they feel on its proposed changes to the Town of Jasper Land Use Policy for private home accommodations (PHA).

The changes are meant to address previous inconsistencies in permitting while also facilitating clear, consistent and fair implementation of the permitting process for the benefit of current and future PHA operators, the community and visitors.

Extensive public consultations on a number of PHA-related issues were conducted in 2019 resulting in draft amendments being developed and the publication of the What We Heard Report that fall. Concerns raised by the Jasper Home Accommodation Association (JHAA) and PHA operators among others led to Parks withdrawing the proposal.

Its representatives met with the JHAA in July 2022 to better understand the concerns and seek its input for the development of a revised policy. The Municipality of Jasper provided its own input as the PHA business licence authority. Last month, Parks brought its revised policy proposal forward to the public and to the JHAA.

In a joint letter to the Fitzhugh, Karen Phillips and Dale Karpluk – the JHAA treasurer and director, respectively – wrote that their organization values transparent and open communication.

Among their comments in the letter, they say that the JHAA is in favour of reasonable compliance inspections but does not believe that new PHAs should be subject to a three-year limit on discretionary use permits.

“This is not applied to other home businesses, so why are PHAs singled out? Members need long-term assurances when making major life and financial decisions such as purchasing a home and relying on PHA income to assist with a mortgage. It is costly to set up or upgrade a PHA to ensure a quality guest experience,” they write.

They express another concern about disallowing tandem parking for future operators, as this may be the only option for many areas in Jasper with no back-alley access. Members also believe parking is a community issue, not just an issue for PHAs, the letter continues.

“Our association is looking forward to welcoming new PHA members this spring, once Parks Canada has formalized the PHA amendments and resumes accepting new applications,” Phillips and Karpluk state.

The proposed changes may be reviewed by visiting Parks Canada’s website and searching for Jasper National Park Public Notices.

The deadline for comments is Tuesday, Jan. 31. Feedback can be sent to jasperdevelopment@pc.gc.ca. It will then be reviewed and evaluated to formulate a PHA land-use policy amendment package for submission to the Planning and Development Advisory Committee.

The PHA land-use policy amendment package is expected to be on the agenda of the March 16 PDAC meeting. Public notices of upcoming PDAC meetings and agenda items are published on Jasper National Park’s website and in the Fitzhugh a minimum of two weeks in advance.

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh