Visitors to Castlegar will help to fund efforts to bring more of their kind to town.
Committee reports took up much of Monday night’s Castlegar City Council meeting, but a few new initiatives added interest to the standard procedures.
Council is moving forward with an Accommodation Tax Bylaw. The new bylaw would see two per cent added to current taxes at hotels and similar accommodations. On hand to show their support were representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and accommodation providers. Council gave the bylaw three readings and will consider adoption at the next regular council meeting. The tax increase will then go to the Province for final approval.
The Regional District Hotel Room Tax is already collected in 45 municipalities throughout B.C. Councillor McIntosh commented, “The reason this has gone ahead is because of tremendous leadership on behalf of the Chamber and the board that sat down at the table to hammer this thing out, because it was not easy. So, kudos to them, this has been a long time in coming.” The tax would be collected by the province and then sent back to the community to be administered by a committee to promote tourism marketing, programs and projects. Initial estimates indicate the tax may generate $50,000 in annual revenue to be used to attract tourists to the city.
Council also moved to support the RDCK bylaw involving Licensed Medical Marihuana Production Facilities and Research Facilities. The purpose of the bylaw is to introduce Development Permit Area regulations and general zoning regulations pertaining to the new regulations under Health Canada. The plan is that production facilities could potentially be allowed in agricultural zones.
The city has entered into an agreement with Shaw Go Wifi which will see free wifi hotspots in public locations around the community. These connections will be accessible to people whether they have a Shaw account or not. Those with Shaw accounts will only be required to log in once; however, people without Shaw accounts will be required to log in each time they use the wifi service.
Council approved a travel grant for the West Kootenay U14 Girls Softball team in the amount of $240 to help with expenses for the team to travel to tournaments in the coming months. The funds will come from the city’s Grants Line Item Budget.
The City of Castlegar is introducing a program for people to sponsor park elements at the Millennium Walkway and Ponds area. Ideas for park improvements that could be sponsored include benches, tables, bike racks and trees. A memorial plaque will be installed with the item that was sponsored. A brochure explaining the program is available.