Letters to the Editor for Apr. 21

The Letters to the Editor this week highlights the work of Fernie's B&B Association.

Letter to the Editor re: Bed and Breakfasts

I am writing this as President of the Fernie B&B Association.

As much as Airbnb is a growing presence in the marketplace, I do need to point out that our B&B Association is a participant in the Fernie community. Indeed some of our members are also involved with Airbnb.

The Fernie B&B Association has been in the Fernie community for decades. Over time members come and go but the business model used is as a contributor to the community.

For 2016 we have five member B&B’s, our involvement in the Fernie community is via the following:

*This B&B Association is a member of Tourism Fernie.

*Individual members buy advertising in local publications.

*We participate in community activities.

*We are active as individual sponsors in local fund raising events.

*Individual members pay for their annual business licenses.

*The association is registered with the provincial government.

*Our members comply to government regulations and municipal zoning.

*We pay for extra insurance that is required to operate as a B&B

I am not so sure that all Airbnb so called “online vendors” comply to regulations that qualify them as B&B or guest houses. Many are just folks wanting to rent out a room with no value-added services and just want to make some quick cash without the costs of permits, registration fees, professional association membership fees, and above all offering a quality product and services that visitors expect that give Fernie a great reputation. Our members are active participants in the Fernie community. The article should’ve mentioned the Fernie B&B Association and the positive role we play in the Fernie community. Someone once told me and I agree, Airbnb is a “taker” of the Fernie community, not a participant to make it a better place.

André LabinePresident of the Fernie B&B Association and co-owner of Twisted Timber Guest House