HUNTSVILLE — It’s this type of significant move that the mayor asked councillors to take the time to think about what all of this means.
“This is more money compared to the entire budget of the [regional tourism organization]. This is more money compared to the entire budget of the Muskoka Tourism marketing agency. Huntsville which tourism entity could be the biggest player in your community by way of a margin of at the very least two-to-one,” said Mayor Scott Aitchison at the Sept. 26 general committee meeting.
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Councillors passed two motions that begin the task of implementing a tourism tax that could place an extra fee on the bills of individuals temporarily residing in the region at places like hotels and motels. Called the municipal accommodation tax and likely to generate roughly $750,a year 000, the amount of money would then be utilized to aid local tourism in a number of capacities, including marketing and workforce development.
The proposal comes carrying out a bill recently passed at the provincial level that delivers lower-tier municipalities the authority to tax transient accommodations. Numerous communities, both in Canada and round the global world, have comparable taxes set up currently.
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Similar taxes have already been proposed and rejected in nearby municipalities. In Muskoka Lakes, councillors rejected the essential idea citing opposition to implementing a fresh tax.
Kelly Haywood, executive director with the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce said that as the tax would make accommodations around more costly she believes the entire effect will be positive for local tourism.
“It can make our community a bit more expensive and particularly on some smaller organizations you will have some costs connected with implementing it, but overall I believe it’s very positive,” said Haywood.
She argued the effectiveness of Huntsville’s offerings will be enough to overcome those that might be thinking about visiting among the town’s neighbours in order to avoid the tax.
“Our product is incredible,” said Haywood. “I believe if we market it right, invest and when people don&rsquo smartly;t get greedy over that $750,000 than I believe we are able to do great things. Of year &mdash we are able to attract more events which are at the proper time; shoulder season specifically. We can spend money on potential seasonal housing for employees to attract more folks.”
One of the motions passed established the Municipal Accommodation Tax Working Group that will define the way the funds collected will undoubtedly be managed. That committee includes representatives from both town and local business.