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A group of City Councillors from around the Metro Vancouver region are bringing “urbanist” conversations to their communities. Their first event will be in New Westminster on November 23 with a conversation about AirBnB, and how it fits into the city-making context.

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The idea started at a Vancouver urban planning event. A group of newly-elected City Councillors from “the suburbs” were invited to Downtown Vancouver to take part in the SFU City Conversation program, a regular meet-up series dedicated to talking about urban issues.

“We were all interested in continuing the conversation,” says Mathew Bond from the District of North Vancouver. “We recognized these issues are relevant to the entire region, not just Downtown Vancouver, and we wanted to bring the conversation out to our own communities.”

Bond, along with Nathan Pachal of the City of Langley, Kiersten Duncan of Maple Ridge, and Patrick Johnstone of New Westminster, are putting together a series of meet-up events visiting each of their communities, as part of a plan to create a larger conversation, in person and online. The City Conversation format is short on experts talking and longer on a facilitated discussion with the audience, perfect for sharing diverse ideas.

The first topic for discussion is the prickly issue of regulating Short Term Rentals.

“The topic of Short Term Rentals is being discussed around the region,” says Johnstone. “Lots of people see AirBnB and VRBO as a great boon for tourism, while others worry about what it means for their neighbourhoods and for our really tight rental stock. We can’t put our head in the sand, we need to understand the issues.”

“We have brought together a panel of people who understand the issue, including an AirBnB operator, a Tourism expert, a researcher who studies the impact on housing affordability. It won’t be boring lecture; we are going to make this a conversation between the panel and the audience.”

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Wednesday, November 23

6:30 – 8 pm

The Network Hub @ The River Market – 810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster

Register now at Eventbrite.