A sign on one of the nearly 150 private home accommodation houses in Jasper. | S.Hayes photo Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Proposed changes to the regulations governing the town’s private home accommodations (PHAs) were presented at the March 22 meeting of the Planning and Development Advisory Committee (PDAC) by Parks Canada’s realty and development department.

The proposals came after the previous 12 concepts for PHA policy change were rescinded due to lack of public support for them in May 2022.

Moira McKinnon, manager of municipal/realty services for Jasper National Park, said that the Jasper Home Accommodation Association’s (JHAA) involvement has been integral to the consultation.

“They gave us feedback directly. We had a lot of questions and answers. The association is not here today speaking, so hopefully that means that those questions and answers went well, that we were able to respond to their concerns,” she said.

The policy amendments that are being proposed include permitting PHAs within a secondary suite, limiting the PHA’s gross floor area to 45 per cent of the dwelling’s gross floor area, and the removal of exterior entrance restrictions for both the one-unit and two-unit residential districts, which includes Cabin Creek West.

McKinnon explained that one of the primary drivers for Parks Canada’s proposal is the safety aspect. There was a concern that PHAs were being utilized as secondary suites in the off-season, which leads to a safety concern over kitchens in those suites. From a safety code perspective, those are not safe.

“We heard loud and clear feedback from the association that things have changed, that people aren’t necessarily interested in coming in and walking through somebody’s house. They felt like there were some safety concerns with that. They wanted the second door so that guests can come and go. One of the changes we’re proposing is that it’s not exclusively the PHA owners, but every home can now have that extra door.”

The issue with kitchens still requires further consultation with the JHAA, McKinnon said.

The presentation also included a list of 19 policy clarifications.

Representatives from the PDAC said that they expected to announce their decisions on the proposals within the next three weeks.

With all PDAC consultations, the committee makes a recommendation that goes to the executive director for Alberta, McKinnon explained. If those recommendations are accepted, then they begin to be implemented.

That’s where the good news story is, she explained. Though Parks Canada is responsible for land-use planning and development, the municipality and Parks have agreed to jointly review the governance agreement, which opens up the possibility for change.

“We didn’t want to start approving PHAs under the old rules when we know the rules are changing. Once we get those recommendations back, we’ll know what the rules are going to be going into the future, and we’ll be able to accept applications. People have been very patient waiting for their new applications to be looked at.”

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 29, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta
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