The owner of Drumkeeran House says there's nothing wrong with the way his Ivey Lake-area accommodation lodge is operating, despite several nearby neighbours saying otherwise.
A delegation representing more than 30 Reid Road residents who have signed a petition opposing Drumkeeran House made another plea to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) board on Monday (Feb. 27) to take action limiting large gatherings on the property. But they were told by SLRD staff that Drumkeeran House isn't violating any bylaws or zoning.
Bruce Bareham and Carol MacLaine, who wrote letters accompanying the petition that first appeared before the board in September, led Monday's delegation. Echoing concerns from their initial letters, they maintain that Drumkeeran House regularly hosts weddings or other large gatherings of up to150 people, leading to late-night noise and drunken behaviour in the neighbourhood.
"I'm pretty damned irritated by it and I won't put up with it for another summer," said Bareham.
The property is zoned as residential tourist accommodation, which allows for up to 10 guests at a time.
Following the initial complaints to the SLRD in September, regional district officials met with lodge owners David Lunny and Maureen Baird in October to discuss neighbours' complaints. A report to the board Monday said the owners verbally agreed to "voluntary" measures to ensure guests are not causing a disturbance.
"We did receive a commitment from them," board chair and Area C director Susie Gimse said during Monday's meeting. "We need to provide them with an opportunity to do what they said they're going to do."
In an email to The Question on Tuesday (Feb. 28), Lunny said on-site caretakers enforce a "zero tolerance policy for noise after 10 p.m." that is included in contracts signed by customers, and that the number of guests of lessees permitted for functions like weddings is limited to 50.
"If you lease our lodge for accommodation and you wish to have additional people to come and enjoy a meal or event, such as a birthday party or wedding, then that is entirely up to you, as the lessee of the lodge," said Lunny, who said it's been three years since a wedding of 150 people was held at Drumkeeran House until the operators chose to set a limit on guests of lessees.
"The claims of three days of drunken parties are complete fiction."
MacLaine fought back tears during Monday's meeting when airing her concerns. In an email to The Question later Monday, she said those who have signed the petition "are not trying to vilify the owners or shut down their business," but that they want their complaints to be acknowledged.
"Regardless of whether they shift the onus of responsibility from themselves to the people who rent out this facility, the outcome is the same - our quality of life is being disturbed," wrote MacLaine. "We would like to see a tourist accommodation zoned property used for that - just the 10 people and not whoever or how many those guests in turn decide to arbitrarily invite onto the property."
Lunny said he and Baird "highly respect our neighbours and have responded to all complaints made known to us."
Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair of the Whistler RCMP said police have not run into any major issues with the property in recent memory. He said officers have responded to five complaints about excessive noise at Drumkeeran House in the last three years and have found property occupants - different ones each time - to be "cooperative" and "unaware they were disturbing anyone."
He added that, since Area C has no noise bylaw in place, the only applicable offence for the activities detailed by the complainants would be mischief, under the Criminal Code, but said he thought such a charge would be "a rare occurrence" based on previous interactions with lodge guests.
Gimse said Wednesday (Feb. 29) that a noise bylaw for Area C is under development, but in the meantime, she'd like to see all parties resolve things on their own.
"The best case scenario would be for those neighbours to sit down and work it out amongst themselves," said Gimse. "To me, that's the best solution."