2 December 2013
About 60 people gathered in the Central Otago District Council Chambers in Alexandra last week to discuss a changing accommodation environment and whether existing rules, regulations and rates for the accommodation sector are still relevant.
A good mix of moteliers, holiday home owners, bed and breakfast, backpackers and homestay operators were represented at the meeting on Thursday 28 November, at which both Councillors and senior Council staff were present.
Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper chaired the two-hour workshop and opened by saying the workshop was about his Council and staff hearing "both sides of the argument ….what's good about the current rules and what isn't working, then exploring solutions and writing rules for the future".
The District Plan and Revenue & Finance Policy reviews and the next 2015-2025 Long Term Plan were upcoming processes through which some of the concerns could be addressed, he said.
The number one concern that arose during the meeting was that accommodation providers, be they motel owners or holiday home operators, agreed on the need for a "level playing field", with everyone operating within the law with required consents.
Most attendees appeared to be in agreement that a mixed rating model with motels and holiday homes both contributing commercial rates, possibly on a pro-rata basis, should be explored and it needed to be "fair and equitable".
Other action points raised during the workshop included:
- For closer monitoring that those operating as Travellers' Accommodation are consented, plus tighter timeframes for enforcement action for those not abiding by the rules;
- For other council's visitor accommodation rating models be explored further;
- For more detailed website information (and related promotion) of the regulations around travellers' accommodation and how liquor laws apply to various groups within the sector;
- For these things to be considered within the context of the global picture and a changing market.