Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)

Parksville council endorses recommendations to provide affordable housing for tourism and hospitality workers

Preferred outcome is program tailored to mitigate chronic worker shortage

The Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association (PQBTA) and the Society of Organized Services (SOS) will soon work together to provide accommodations for hospitality and tourism workers.

Patrick Jiggins, the chair for the PQBTA wrote a letter, dated March 31, to the City of Parksville concerning online accommodation platforms (OAP) and the municipal regional district tax (MRDT) affordable housing plan.

The chair’s letter was submitted as a follow-up to the meeting with the PQBTA executive director, Blain Sepos, Coun. Adam Fras, Coun. Marilyn Wilson and Mayor Ed Mayne, which regarded the RDN board’s deferred motion on OAP and MRDT.

OAPs are online marketplaces that facilitate transactions for accommodations, such as B&Bs.

“When somebody pays for their room they pay a percentage as a tax. Almost like a sales tax except it’s a tax that goes back to the local area. All the hotels have been paying it for years,” said Mayor Ed Mayne during the April 7 council meeting. “That money comes back and the local PQBTA uses that for advertising and promoting the (Parksville Qualicum Beach) area… A few years back, what was found out was that all those people with the OAPs, they weren’t paying any tax. “

READ MORE: RDN to tax smaller accommodation providers

During the meeting, Mayne said it was suggested the PQBTA board of directors provide Parksville council with their preferred approach to the RDN board’s deferred motion. As part of their approach, the PQBTA supports the motion to use the SOS as the affordable housing service provider, aimed specifically at the hospitality and tourism businesses, for the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

The PQBTA’s preferred outcome is for a program tailored specifically to mitigate the chronic worker shortage suffered by most local tourism and hospitality businesses.

In the letter addressed to Parksville council by Jiggins, he wrote that the PQBTA welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the SOS, RDN, City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach on a plan that addresses the unique challenges of the region.

The association recognizes the need for affordable housing in the community, however, there is a relatively small amount of OAP funds available to dedicate to such, and would prefer a focused program that is only available to qualifying tourism and hospitality workers. The letter reads that such a program would make Parksville Qualicum Beach more attractive to such industries, and that many of those workers tend to be from a younger demographic looking to ‘put down roots’ with their families.

“Such a program would be well received by local accommodation owners and managers. This bodes well for future MRDT renewals that cannot be successful without accommodation support. After all, there is no OAP without MRDT,” read Jiggins’ letter.

After Jiggins’s letter was received by Parksville council on Wednesday, April 7, council voted in favour to endorse the recommendations provided by the PQBTA.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

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