Chamber wants healthy discussion of room tax plan

  • Jun. 11, 2004 4:00 p.m.

The QCI Chamber of Commerce is going to invite the regional district’s administrator to the islands for a meeting about a tax proposal that is becoming controversial.
The chamber recently wrote to the regional district to ask it to vote in a two-percent tax on accommodation, but after hearing from one opponent at a meeting in Masset June 10, decided a discussion is important first.
“I am against that. We cannot attract people with more taxes”, north beach bed and breakfast owner Charly Feller told the chamber. Mr. Feller also noted that the amount of money such a tax would raise might not be a lot, and suggested that a feasibility study be carried out first.
“I think we really need to sit down and figure out how much it is going to come to in the end,” chamber president Jean Traplin said, “it is my impression but only my impression..that they were talking in the terms of like $80,000 a year. But I don’t know that it’s a fact.”
In requesting the tax the chamber had hoped money raised could be used for economic development on the islands.
The chamber is now hoping regional district administrator Janet Beil can meet with them by the end of July.
Meanwhile, regional district directors will discuss the proposed tax when they meet June 18 in Prince Rupert, administrator Janet Beil said.
“I’ve got a letter from the QCI Chamber of Commerce requesting that the board consider it,” she said.
If directors are interested in the idea, they can vote to ask Ms Beil to research the tax further. But before the tax can be implemented, the regional district must write and pass a bylaw, and get the permission of the provincial government.
The bylaw would be written to target the large sports fishing lodges which operate on the north and west coasts of the islands, Ms Beil said.
“My intentions are not to impact any of the local hotels,” she said. “It’s meant to be a lodge tax.”

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