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BCLCA President's Report

Jim HumphreyI was pleased, once again, to represent the membership at the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Vancouver from September 16 to September 20. The goal was to keep up the momentum to modernize the Tourism Accommodation (Assessment Relief) Act (TAARA) and increase the allowable relief. I met with a number of mayors to ask for their support and asked Ministers to push for change.

In the past year my colleagues from the Coalition to Support Rural Tourism in B.C. and I, have met with former Minister Pat Bell and the Hon. Bill Bennett to address the decline and closures of rural resorts by way of a change to the Tourism Accommodation (Assessment Relief) Act. These discussions, along with UBCM's support resolution passed at their convention in 2012, led to the commitment to modernize the Act in the BC Liberal election platform.

Since the election in May, I have met with the Hon. Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business who informed me that changes to the Act would be led by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and will likely be part of the Ministry of Finance annual budget process for 2014.

As you know, time is of the essence, as delay leads to more tax pressure on existing rural tourism businesses to move away from tourism. Every small business that closes in a rural area means that the remaining businesses must make up the business class tax shortfall to balance the regional district's budget, thereby adding further pressure to get out of tourism. I am hopeful that after a decade of communicating with government about the declining viability of rural tourism accommodations, one major cause will be eliminated by modernizing the Tourism Accommodation (Assessment Relief) Act to reflect increased property values.

I am very pleased that negotiations with Shaw Cablevision have concluded with a preferred rate for operators of campground and RV parks wishing to enter into five year term. Sincere thanks to both Rob Littlejohn and Shaun Barbon who negotiated on behalf of the members. Details can be found in the announcement on the front page of this Dogwood Express.

Over the summer, we also announced a new Legal Services Program with Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, who will act as the endorsed supplier of legal services. Members in need of legal advice for services such as Corporate or Commercial; Information and Privacy, Insurance; Intellectual Property and Technology and/or Landlord Tenant and Strata Property matters will be referred to the legal team at Alexander Holburn through their primary contact, Bob Pakrul. Alexander Holburn has also extended a 10% discounted rate off their standard hourly rates for those members that utilize their services. The first of a series of three articles can be read in this industry article setion. As well, Bob Pakrul and Laura Hanson, are hosting a session at the Lodging and Camping Issues Forum, October 17th in Kelowna.

I am nearing the end of another term as President, a position I have held since November 23, 2009. It is my intention not to seek re-election after the BCLCA AGM, October 16th at the Ramada Hotel, Kelowna. I want to thank all of you for your support over the years and I look forward to assisting the board in the capacity of Past President.

Author Jim Humphrey, President BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association  

Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

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