The Revelstoke Accommodation Association (RAA) is calling on members of the local hospitality sector to oppose proposed changes to the Municipal and Regional District Tax. (file photo)

Revelstoke Accommodation Association oppose changes to MRDT tax funds

The BCNDP presented its proposed changes to the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) in its Feb. 2018 budget

The Revelstoke Accommodation Association (RAA) is calling on members of the local hospitality sector to oppose proposed changes to the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) presented as part of the provincial government’s 2018 budget.

On April 4 RAA sent out an e-mail asking local businesses which are dependent on tourism to send letters to Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok.

“The government is proposing legislation to alter the way these taxes are spent, funnelling them towards affordable housing,” wrote RAA in their e-mail. “While we agree that this is an important issue in our province, this was not what the money was intended for, and affordable housing should not fall on the back of tourism.”

The MRDT was first introduced in 1987 to provide funding for local tourism marketing and associated programs.

The tax was intended to amplify B.C. tourism marketing efforts.

The proposed changes to the tax are intended to help finance affordable housing projects and are part of a more than $6 billion commitment the NDP provincial government made to build more than 34,000 affordable homes across the province when it presented its budget on Feb. 20.

The NDP also pledged more than $1.8 billion for rental housing over the next decade.

In the NDP’s budget and fiscal plan for 2018-19, the date of the proposed changes has not yet been set.

The document states the money “can” be used to fund affordable housing, but will not necessarily be allocated to that end.

“Effective on a date to be specified by regulation,” reads the government document, “revenue from the municipal and regional district tax collected by municipalities, regional districts and eligible entities, such as tourism focused non profits, can be used to fund affordable housing projects.”

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok said that ultimately whether or not the MRDT dollars collected by members of the hospitality sector are diverted towards affordable housing would be a decision that City Council would have to make.

He said the government did not do any public consultation on the proposed changes, and that he spoke with a group in Revelstoke on April 4 who are opposed to the changes.

Clovechok said he will bring their concerns to the Minister of Tourism, saying while social housing is an important issue, financing for it shouldn’t come at the expense of promoting tourism and hospitality across the riding.

“I think that social housing is an extremely important issue in this riding,” said Clovechok. “But building it on the back of tourism and hospitality just doesn’t make sense.”

A spokesperson for the RAA called the funding “absolutely critical” to attracting visitors.

The City of Revelstoke has designated RAA to oversee the management and administration of Tourism Revelstoke, which includes marketing efforts supported by MRDT funds.

RAA is a not-for-profit organization which is composed of 23 accommodators who collect the MRDT.

RAA said that the MRDT generated over $700,000 in 2017.

The MRDT is charged in participating areas to raise revenue primarily for tourism marketing, programs and projects.

The MRDT is only applicable in designated accommodation areas.

It is not a compulsory tax.

The MRDT agreement is renewed every five years.

It is up for renewal in May 2018.

The tax applies to hotels, motels, resorts, boarding houses, rooming houses, bed and breakfasts, ships and trains.

Municipalities, regional districts and eligible entities can apply.

Eligible Entities can be not-for-profit business, have a place of business in designated accommodation areas, and must be actively engaged in tourism marketing or programs.

According to Destination BC, the maximum rate of taxation under the MRDT is three per cent.

“The key point is that this is a good tax, it works, and it’s really beneficial to have,” said Clovechok. “But what this minority government has done is that they have arbitrarily changed the rules. We’re going to fight tooth and claw against this.”

The City of Revelstoke’s Tourism Infrastructure Committee meets on April 11.

@Jnsherman
jake.sherman@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Revelstoke Art Gallery hosts exhibition in honour of Pat Wells

Barbara Maye Special to the Review Stone Carving and Revelstoke have a… Continue reading

Wildfires in Mt. Revelstoke National Park not currently a threat to people or assets

Since the lightning storm on Tuesday there have been three fires on… Continue reading

UPDATE: Revelstoke RCMP looking for information on missing person John Cunliffe

The Revelstoke Royal Canadian Mounted Police Detachment is continuing to ask for… Continue reading

UPDATED: Mount Eneas fire grows to 1,374 hectares

Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen issues evac alerts for properties in Area F.

Victoria woman recounts driving past wildfire near Peachland

Jenna Smith compared the fire to an apocalypse movie

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Wildfire near Keremeos still burning at 255 hectares

The Placer Mountain wildfire is still active

Sheryl Crow hits West Kelowna for Mission Hill Winery concert

Songstress seems struck by the natural beauty of the Okanagan

2017 wildfires give B.C. mom chance to say thank you to officer who saved her son

An unlikely encounter in the rural community of Likely, near Williams Lake

UPDATED: Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters defy eviction order

Demonstrators at Camp Cloud in Burnaby say they won’t leave, but will meet with city officials

B.C. tent city camper arrested for taking coins from fountain

The man, who built a shelter at a Saanich park, says homeless people are unfairly targeted

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Most Read