Municipality works to ensure funding

Municipality LogoSun Peaks will be working with other British Columbian resort municipalities to create a proposal for the continuation of the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) past 2016.

Mayor Al Raine and Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) chief administrative officer Rob Bremner attended the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Convention in Vancouver from September 21 to 25.

They met with Shirley Bond, provincial minister of jobs, tourism and skills training, and other resort municipalities to discuss the best way to continue this program that helps support 14 municipalities.

The RMI is a funding program from the provincial government which has allowed these communities to “dedicate resources to improving tourism-based infrastructure and amenities to attract more visitors and encourage longer stays”.

For 2015-16, Sun Peaks received $289,472 of the $10.5 million distributed. Sun Peaks has been participating in the RMI program since 2011 and has received $1.6 million overall.

The majority of funding has gone towards a summer events program orchestrated by Tourism Sun Peaks with the support of the municipality.

Sun Peaks has been a recipient of RMI funding since 2012. The program expires in 2016 and Mayor Al Raine will be involved in working with delegates from five other resort municipalities to draft a proposal on how the program should continue.

An increase of 2 per cent in hotel tax was discussed, some of which is transferred to the municipality. There was also debate on the best use for the extra funding. Raine said for Sun Peaks this tax is “critical”, but more effective collaboration and communication between provincial and municipal governments would be key and the increase still needs approval.

Sun Peaks’ residents face higher-than-average taxes as the municipality is over two times the average assessment for property tax. Raine believes the municipality needs more funding from hotel tax revenues than they currently receive.