Skip to content

Regional district supports room tax

One director votes in opposition to initiative

A majority of Powell River Regional District directors voted at the April 26 board meeting to support a tax initiative that would generate tourism funding. One director, Patrick Brabazon, who represents Electoral Area A, voted in opposition to the motion to send a letter of support for Sunshine Coast Tourism’s (SCT) application for a two per cent municipal and regional district tax.

SCT is applying to the provincial ministry of finance to implement the tax, which would be charged on sales of taxable accommodation in the Powell River and Sunshine Coast regional districts.

If the proposal is successful, accommodation providers that have four or more rooms would be collecting the tax. The organization needs both a majority vote of the number of accommodation providers and a majority of the room count. There are approximately 55 to 60 accommodation providers and 900 rooms in the region. As well, SCT needs letters of support from each of the local governments in the region to go along with the application, which, with the regional district vote, it has now obtained.

City of Powell River council unanimously passed a motion at the April 5 meeting to issue a letter of support for the initiative. All four local governments on the Lower Sunshine Coast have also passed resolutions supporting the proposal.

Brabazon said he was in a difficult position, because he had three accommodation businesses in his area, two that supported the initiative. “The other is adamantly opposed,” he said. “This particular operator has come to me and said that they’re really unhappy.”

SCT estimates the tax will generate $255,000 annually for the development and promotion of tourism. It would administer the funds using either an 80-20 or 75-25 funding formula, with the majority retained by SCT for regional initiatives and the remainder for local projects. Allocation of the local funds will be made through an application process.

If approved, the tax would remain in place for five years, with renewal requiring a re-application process involving consultation with and support of the accommodation sector.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks