Town council has endorsed the idea of a two per cent municipal regional district tax on hotels within the municipality.
A draft letter of support for the tax was submitted to the town by Dave Petryk, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island. Council discussed the letter at last week’s finance and administration committee meeting with all members voting in favour of the proposed two per cent hotel tax.
The letter states the town recognizes how such a tax will enable the region to “increase revenues for local tourism marketing, programs and projects” and would allow Tourism Cowichan Society to be “an industry-led, properly funded society which will significantly increase the Cowichan presence in the marketplace.”
Committee chairman Tim McGonigle noted taxes like this are not uncommon in other areas.
“This is nothing new in other communities around the province. Victoria, Whistler, Saanich, Sooke — most of them have a municipal regional tax, which is reinvested into tourism opportunities within the region,” he said. “So I see it as a catch-up.”
He also said he did not think the town of Lake Cowichan will be as impacted as the rest of the regional district.
Chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez said the tax would not apply to bed and breakfasts with less than five rooms, which are currently prohibited by Lake Cowichan town bylaws.
“So the B&Bs, the small mom and pop organizations are not going to be impacted by the increase in tax,” said McGonigle.
Presently the only business to be impacted by this tax in Lake Cowichan is the Lake Cowichan Lodge.
The CVRD also supports this proposed tax strategy.