I love living in Alberta and having the Canadian Rockies in my backyard.
I am fortunate to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and within hours be surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the mountains. As an Albertan, my go to has always been Jasper, where its rustic charm and small town hospitality have always appealed to me as a holiday destination.
I have been fortunate to find local, private home accommodations (PHAs) in Jasper that are affordable and provide easy access to amenities within the town. PHAs have always been my preference, as they offer a homey environment as opposed to a typical hotel setting. This year was no exception, and in June I chose a PHA for my visit to Jasper. Not only was my PHA reasonably priced, I had the bonus of having my morning coffee outside on a patio bistro and offering belly rubs to the resident retriever. A cozy home away from home atmosphere makes staying at a PHA an easy choice for me. It is a personable experience where you get to know the homeowners and they get to know you. As a visitor to Jasper, I like having a choice where I stay.
I have heard that there are proposed discussions with Parks Canada around Land Use Policy Amendments, which would put restrictions on PHAs. I am not privy to all the details on why restrictions on PHA are being suggested; I do however, support homeowners having the freedom to rent to who they want and when, and me as a visitor having the option to choose them for their accessibility and affordability when I visit. While I appreciate that there is a housing shortage in the town, putting restrictions on PHAs and limiting visitors’ choices to expensive nightly hotels is short sighted and will have a negative impact on the average Canadian’s pocketbook. If I am limited to staying at a hotel because of lack of PHA availability, and having to pay peak season pricing year round, Jasper, for the first time, will be out of my reach financially.
PHAs have provided me with a unique opportunity to have a wonderful, safe, and affordable experience while supporting the local economy and enjoying the beautiful scenic sites of the park.
I hope the charm of Jasper remains the same and continues to include full access to PHAs, which have been a part of the community landscape and an appeal to visitors for decades.