Submissions sent to Sidney (British Colombia) council suggest there is overwhelming opposition to its plans to prohibit short-term vacation rentals, but also suggest an organised campaign by Airbnb and interested parties.

Sidney council is to consider a bylaw to ban all short vacation rentals there, and restrict additional bed-and-breakfast uses, but 16/17 written submissions from the public express opposition to the proposed move.

Eight of these come from self-described members of the “Airbnb community” and appear identical in suggesting a coordinated effort. There is a range of identical phrasing between the letters which raises questions about the sincerity and authenticity of the authors, especially as they do not state where they are based.

The opposition from Airbnb is unsurprising, but the volume and nature of the letters leave the impression that the company is trying to exaggerate opposition toward the measure in a calculated manner.

The question of allowing short-term rentals has long vexed municipal governments across Canada.

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