Tourism tax could still be renewed

A LOCAL tourism body says it still has time to collect support for a tax it wants renewed, despite an initial deadline having passed.

  • Mar. 18, 2012 4:00 p.m.

A LOCAL tourism body says it still has time to collect support for a tax it wants renewed, despite an initial deadline having passed.

Although a Feb. 29 deadline first set by the society was ideal, Kermodei Tourism Society director Bruno Belanger said there’s still time to collect the needed number of signatures for a room tax renewal.

The tax amounts to a two per cent levy from the price of local motel and hotel rooms, and as its term is set to end in June, support from hoteliers is needed for it to continue past then.

The  Feb. 29 deadline was put in place to provide a cushion for the renewal to be processed by the province.

“We probably have a couple of weeks (still),” said Belanger last week.

The society needs one more hotel or motel to sign up so it has the majority of hoteliers on side who then have the majority of rooms.

There are still conversations going on with some local hotels whose owners have yet to make up their minds, Belanger said.

“(Conversations) are positive,” he added.

As of late last week, seven out of 15 local hotels and motels signed up to renew the tax and between them they  amount to 42 per cent of the 480 hotel and motel rooms in the area.

“We’re really close to getting our target … we need just one more hotel to sign on,” said Belanger.

Hotels and motels that have signed on include:

The Best Western Terrace Inn, The Coast Inn of the West, Evergreen Inn, Rainbow Inn, Wild Duck Motel & RV Park, Copper River Motel, and the Lodge at Skeena Landing.

In the mean time, B.C.’s finance ministry has said it’s anticipating an application with signature of support from Kermodei Tourism in March.

“We ask in our program guidelines that communities submit their complete renewal applications four to six months from their sunset date,” said provincial finance ministry staff.

“Tax in Terrace will sunset on June 30th.”

If not enough signatures are collected, Belanger said the Kermodei Tourism Society board will decide how to go from there.

“The city knows they don’t have any extra money to hand out,” he said of the possibility of increased financial support from the city.

“If we don’t get the two per cent it doesn’t mean that Kermodei Tourism is going to fold,” said Belanger.  “The sad part is that we’re going to lose approximately $120,000 that we’ve been using to market all of Terrace.”

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