Caught between what Mayor Kennedy Stewart described as "a rock and a hard place," Vancouver City Council voted unanimously in favour of listing all City-held assets as "available" on the popular online short-term rental site Airbnb. Ending what has been a years-long, deadlocked battle with the San Francisco-based tech company, the latest surprise move by the City is already being branded as a "total capitulation" by critics as news of the deal went public early this morning.
Those familiar with Airbnb's hold on the city, as unit after unit, high-rise after high-rise fall prey to the site's allure of quick, easy money in return for a revolving door of backpacking globetrotters, were quick to condemn the move, opining that City Hall, schools, and libraries ought to remain firmly in the public's hands. An anonymous dissenter, pseudonym Doug Fairmount, self-described as a property owner and hotelier, went on record stating his displeasure: "The City has truly gone too far! This is a reckless move by Mayor Stewart, especially as the summer season is upon us... How can a small, family-run business expect to keep charging a modest $600/night when all of a sudden tourists can just opt for a bunk bed in the Teen Fiction section of the library?"
Stopping for questions later in the day, Mayor Stewart had the following to say in regards to the surprising developments of Council's emergency April 1st meeting: "This was not an easy decision. As the Mayor, and as this city's #1 fan, I know how challenging it will be for many of the affected public institutions to adapt to the changes. Yes, there may be a newlywed couple from Norway sleeping on a pile of gym mats in your child's school gymnasium, yes, there may be a busload of British university students sleeping one off in local community rec centre, but we have no choice. We live in a tech-centric world, and this is simply the cost of doing business in the 21st century." With that, Stewart turned on his heel and darted back inside City Hall, leaving those remaining to wonder aloud whether or not this was truly happening, or all part of an elaborate April Fools' Day prank.