Province of British Columbia confirms resort municipality funding for 2012
Resort Municipality Initiative to revert back to hotel tax next year
February 29, 2012: Whistler, BC – The Province of British Columbia has confirmed that Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funding, a major revenue source for eligible resort municipalities in British Columbia, has been secured for 2012. The Province also announced that the funding program will continue in 2013 with some modifications.
For 2012, $10.5 million in RMI funding has been allocated by the Province for the 14 eligible resort communities, including Whistler. The Province is in the process of developing allocations for each resort community based on business generated in each community during the 2011 calendar year.
“This funding has been a critical contributor toward projects and programs designed to grow tourism,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “We have been operating under the assumption that we would receive the funding but having this confirmation means we can move full steam ahead with our planning for this year. We are very appreciative of our relationship with the Province and their commitment to this program to build tourism in the Province.”
The tax on short-term accommodation (formerly referred to as the provincial Hotel Room Tax) will be re-implemented at the same time as the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) in April 2013 (the beginning of the Province’s 2013 fiscal year). The tax rate will be 8 per cent, the same rate as prior to harmonization, and tax will apply in similar manner as it did prior to the HST.
A meeting has been set for March 8 between the 14 British Columbia resort municipalities and the Province of British Columbia to review the program and provide further clarity to the communities. RMOW staff will take a lead role in this meeting to ensure Whistler’s interests are known.
Historically, the Province provided eligible resort municipalities with a portion of the provincial Hotel Room Tax. When the Hotel Room Tax was eliminated with the introduction of the HST, funding for resort municipalities was continued through the RMI program as a grant. With the RMI grant model, a capped total figure was made available for the 14 resort communities in the province and distributed proportionately based around each resort community’s previous year of business.
Despite the administrative changes to the funding source since it was established in 2006—this funding has been an important contribution to Whistler’s revenues to build tourism.
Most recently, the RMOW received $7.5 million in RMI funding in 2011. It received $2.7 million in 2006 (July through December timeframe), $7.3 million in 2007, $7.6 million in 2008, $6.5 million in 2009 and $6.5 million in 2010.
RMI funds are an important supplement to the RMOW’s budget allowing incremental investment into ongoing and new projects and programs to support tourism. The RMOW has been given the responsibility of investing in programs and projects that enhance resort programming and resort infrastructure leading to increased visitation, an enhanced visitor experience and a higher average annual occupancy level.
Annual recipients of the RMI funds include: Tourism Whistler, the Visitor Information Centre, Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Arts Council, and the Whistler Film Festival. In addition, a variety of programs and projects have been funded in part or entirely by RMI such as: the Festivals, Events and Animation program, the Village Host Program, Whistler Olympic Plaza construction and operating costs, the Sea to Sky Trail Project and other trail initiatives, Bayly Park and the public art program, to name a few.
The Province also confirmed that the two per cent municipal and regional district hotel room tax (called the Additional Hotel Room Tax or AHRT) levied on behalf of local governments, regional districts, and eligible entities such as tourism associations that are used for local tourism marketing, programs and projects will continue after the re-introduction of the PST. This had been previously announced.
About the Resort Municipality of Whistler
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is Whistler’s local government led by an elected council and administered by an executive team and staff on behalf of 10,000 residents and two million annual visitors. The RMOW manages municipal planning and development, park and Village operations, sports facilities and recreation, public utilities and environmental services, bylaws and enforcement, fire rescue, fiscal planning and financial services, legislative services, human resources, communications and the administration of the Whistler2020 Comprehensive Sustainability Plan and Whistler’s Official Community Plan. The RMOW collaborates with in-resort and external partners to create visitor experiences and enrich community life.
Whistler’s vision is to be the premier mountain resort community as it moves toward sustainability. Whistler was the proud Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
RESORT MUNICIPALITY OF WHISTLER
4325 Blackcomb Way
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4