Letter: Is there a war on B&Bs in Powell River?

Has our City of Powell River council decided to declare war on B&Bs [“City considers short-term rental fee,” January 25]?

I don’t recall seeing the declaration of a city policy regarding B&Bs. I know the statement that comes so easily: “If you are running a business you need to pay the taxes and fees that apply,” but how much thought is really going into this?

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I see talk of a business licence fee, provincial government taxes, a tax rate change to make property a commercial rate rather than a residential rate, plus a fee to be paid to a social housing fund. Wow, looks like a war to me, and there is talk of limiting the number that can apply. I think the city will win this war for sure.

But first, let’s ask some questions. Do B&Bs fill a need for the travelling public and if we were to eliminate 50 per cent of the local B&Bs would we drive away those visitors who would have visited here? Are we going to send out the message that we are not interested in B&B lovers coming to this fair city? Do B&Bs take away from the hotel industry that is fully taxed and licensed? Are users of the B&B concept the type of travellers who would not want to stay in a hotel if a B&B was not available? Would they just look at a different destination where there are B&B accommodations available?

I looked at the idea of a B&B at my home before all the publicity surrounding the idea right now. I am a pensioner and was looking at a way to supplement my pension income that never quite seems to cover all I desire.

After considering Canada Revenue Agency would claw back my pensions when I started to make extra income and the amount of work and income required to make it viable, it just didn’t add up. I would suggest that a majority of those who make up the 50 or so B&B operations in this city are in the same boat and need to work hard to make a small dent in their living expenses. I would also suggest that some of these B&B operators need this income just to remain in their present homes and a bunch of new fees would certainly push them into the need to sell and become part of the Powell River housing problem.

Can there be a few more questions asked on this issue and determine if B&Bs are a valuable part of attracting visitors here or are they the enemy that needs to be driven out?

Jerry Eskes
Park Avenue

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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