The Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District voted Friday to prepare a bylaw which will force sportsfishing lodges on the islands to collect an additional two percent tax, over the objections of the lodges.
Administrator Janet Beil told directors she consulted the lodges over the past few months and none were in favour of the new tax. Proceeds from the tax could be turned over to a local group like the Chamber of Commerce, which could use it to stimulate economic development.
Despite the negative response from the lodges, Ms Beil recommended that the board go ahead with the tax. The provincial government will make the final decision on whether to implement it.
“I would encourage the board to write a bylaw and ask that this two percent tax be implemented as soon as possible,” she said.
Ms Beil has previously said that the bylaw would be written to target the large sportsfishing lodges which operate on the north and west coasts of the islands, and not local accommodation providers.
Directors voted unanimously in favour of going ahead, with Area D director Ian Hetman saying that the islands get virtually nothing back from the lodges as things stand now, and Port Clements director Dale Lore calling the decision a “no-brainer”.
Des Nobels, who represents Area C on the mainland, said two new lodges have opened up in his neighbourhood recently, and more could be on the way. In the future, the regional district could consider extending the tax to the mainland area, he said.
Ms Beil will prepare a bylaw for the next meeting, scheduled for December.
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