It’s not often that you hear about businesses requesting a tax increase, but the local Chamber of Commerce is asking the regional district to consider charging a two percent room tax on lodges, resorts and hotels in unincorporated areas of the islands, Alex Rinfret writes.
Chamber secretary Maggie Bell Brown said the Chamber decided to make the request after meeting with regional district administrator Janet Beil to discuss funding for the Chamber’s new visitor info centre and office in Port Clements.
Chamber members are hoping revenue raised through the new tax could be used to spur economic development on the islands, Ms Bell Brown said.
The two percent tax would be paid by any lodge or hotel which already pays the provincial eight percent hotel room tax. The provincial tax only applies to accommodations with more than four rooms, which means that most of the bed and breakfast and other small accommodation providers on the islands would not be affected by the Chamber’s request for an additional levy, Ms Bell Brown said. It also does not affect any businesses operating in municipalities.
Many islanders have complained that the luxurious lodges on the west coast don’t bring any benefits to local people or businesses.
“An ongoing sore spot with many people here is the sportfishing lodges outside the municipal boundaries, and how they don’t contribute to the local economy,” Ms Bell Brown said, explaining the rationale behind the tax request.
The regional district will consider the tax at its next meeting, scheduled for June 18.
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