Hotel tax bylaw gets the go-ahead

Province will collect three per cent tax on room stays, will channel money back to Cranbrook Tourism

  • Mar. 7, 2017 7:00 p.m.

Barry Coulter

Cranbrook City Council adopted the so-called Hotel Tax bylaw at Monday night’s regular meeting, March 6.

Hotel Tax Bylaw No. 3892 is part the city’s Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) application. The three per cent levy on hotel rooms will be collected by the Province and then funnelled back through the City of Cranbrook for Cranbrook Tourism, in order to help market the Cranbrook area for tourism purposes. Monies generated could be to the tune of $450,000 a year.

Mayor Lee Pratt took the opportunity to clarify certain misunderstandings that have arisen among the general public, concerning the tax.

“The hoteliers decide if they want it, we [the City] decide if it passes,” Mayor Pratt said.

“It’s not the city’s call, it’s the hoteliers who want it. All we’re saying is that we approve of it. It’s their wish.”

Pratt added that as to concerns that the levy would cause travellers to seek lodging in other towns, the same hotel tax is in place most everywhere else as well.

According to a report compiled by City of Cranbrook staff, the bylaw is part of Cranbrook’s Destination Marketing Organization application to the Province of B.C., that the Province levy the tax on behalf of the municipality.

If the application is successful, the Province will levy the three percent tax on all hotel and motel room stays in the City of Cranbrook, along with all bed and breakfast establishments with four or more rooms, on behalf of the municipality. Those tax dollars collected — projected to be approximately $450,000 per year — will in turn be provided to Cranbrook Tourism in order to undertake a comprehensive tourism marketing campaign.

Mayor Pratt said that at least 50 per cent of “rooms” needed to be in favour of the tax. The final number was as high as 70.

Councillor Danielle Cardozo added that bylaw does not affect families or individuals who are renting long-term — the tax does not apply to stays of 30 days or longer.