They want to set up a fully accessible Airbnb. Right now, a bylaw means they can't

A view of the wheelchair ramp at 11636 Riverside Dr. East in Windsor, where Karen and Wayne Fraser are hoping to license a fully accessible short-term rental home. (Google Maps - image credit)
A view of the wheelchair ramp at 11636 Riverside Dr. East in Windsor, where Karen and Wayne Fraser are hoping to license a fully accessible short-term rental home. (Google Maps - image credit)

Just how hard is it to find an Airbnb location in Windsor that can accommodate people with disabilities?

Far too difficult, according to Karen and Wayne Fraser, whose personal experiences travelling with disabilities have inspired them to try to start their own fully-accessible short-term rental residence.

The non-profit organization Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario (ALSO) is partnering with the Frasers in their cause.

"In our research for accessible tourism destinations in Windsor-Essex, we realized that there were no accessible short-term rentals in our community," wrote ALSO executive director Leigh Vachon in a letter to Windsor city council.

ALSO has committed to providing concierge services to guests of the Frasers' Airbnb location, along with ensuring that all destinations are accessible, and offering additional personal supports for a fee.

"Anything we can do to make the visit, or staycation, in our community worry-free and more enjoyable, we will do," Vachon promised. "Our goal is to make Windsor-Essex the accessible tourist destination."

A view of the property at 11636 Riverside Dr. East in Windsor, where Karen and Wayne Fraser are hoping to license a fully accessible short-term rental home.
A view of the property at 11636 Riverside Dr. East in Windsor, where Karen and Wayne Fraser are hoping to license a fully accessible short-term rental home.

A view of the property at 11636 Riverside Dr. East in Windsor, where Karen and Wayne Fraser are hoping to license a fully accessible short-term rental home. (Google Maps)

The Frasers and ALSO are calling their endeavour "Flutter City Cottage" — a modest one-level riverfront house at 11636 Riverside Dr. East, on the picturesque edge of Lake St. Clair, just east of Sand Point Beach and close to Ganatchio Trail.

But there's an obstacle to the concept becoming a reality: A City of Windsor bylaw.

Municipal bylaw 115-2022, which covers short-term rentals, requires that properties proposed for short-term rental be the "principal residence" of at least one of the licence applicants.

The Frasers don't live at "Flutter City Cottage."

A satellite image of 11636 Riverside Dr. East in Windsor, where Karen and Wayne Fraser hope to license a fully accessible short-term rental home.
A satellite image of 11636 Riverside Dr. East in Windsor, where Karen and Wayne Fraser hope to license a fully accessible short-term rental home.

A satellite image of 11636 Riverside Dr. East in Windsor, where Karen and Wayne Fraser hope to license a fully accessible short-term rental home. (Google Maps)

Vachon's letter to council states that ALSO understands the rationale for the city's bylaw. But the organization is asking council to make an exemption for the Frasers.

"The Frasers reside two blocks further on Riverside Drive and are available to do regular check-ins on the property or to attend the property immediately in an emergency," Vachon reasoned.

"In our provision of concierge and personal support services to the clients, (ALSO) will be attending the site regularly. We can also provide regular monitoring check-ins around the clock."

Guests of "Flutter City Cottage" will need to sign a comprehensive code of conduct that includes items concerning noise control and waste removal. ALSO and the Frasers intend to invest in property monitoring equipment, if the licence is approved.

Council received Vachon's letter at its May 27 meeting, and directed administration to report back on the possibility of a bylaw exemption for the project.

The Frasers and ALSO declined to be interviewed by CBC Windsor, citing the need to wait for council's decision.

"Accessible tourism is not just about providing equal opportunities for people with disabilities; It's about fostering inclusivity and diversity within our community," Vachon wrote.