City approved three per cent accommodation tax

The application now needs to be approved by the provincial government.

City council passed a bylaw approving a three per cent accommodation tax on hotel rooms in Campbell River and now it can take the next step and apply for provincial approval of that  levy.

At Monday’s city council meeting that bylaw was given first, second and third readings and would enact a Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) which will now be forwarded to the province.

The tax will raise revenue for local tourism marketing, programs and projects.

Mayor Andy Adams was pleased with the step taken Monday.

“This has been a long time coming,” he said at Monday’s city council meeting.

The city has been working with consultant Suzanne Denbak of Cadence Strategies and Laura Plant over the past several months to develop a new tourism strategy for the city, city manager Deborah Sargent said in a report to council.

Cadence has been working closely with the accommodation sector to ensure there is support for the MRDT application. At least 51 per cent of the number of business that would collect the tax within the municipality, representing at least 51 per cent of the total number of rooms is required for a MRDT application to the province.

Sargent said that a majority of both hotel rooms and number of properties with city limits have indicated their support for the three per cent MRDT by signing a petition which will accompany the application to the province.

Campbell River is applying for the maximum tax rate – three per cent – allowed under the province’s MRDT tax.

The city pays $250,000 annually for local tourism marketing, programs and projects. The MRDT application would provide an additional funding stream of up to $290,000 for tourism marketing, programs and projects.

Cadence Strategies introduced the draft five-year Tourism Plan to council, the accommodation sector and stakeholders in a series of meetings held at the end of June and is currently working closely with the city and hotel sector.