A man sitting on top of a pile of suitcases sprays $100 bills at a bunch of houses.

Photo Credit: VanIsle.News Staff

Taxing Tourists to Support Locals

Extra dollars from short term rentals will be put towards long term housing for Cortes

Vacation rentals are the key

Cortes Island tourists are going to pay a little extra on their vacations this year.

But the extra dollars are going towards making the island a better place to live in the years to come.

The Strathcona Regional District has chosen to support Cortes Island’s application to collect taxes from short-term vacation rentals.

Electoral Area B director Mark Vonesch led in bringing the application to attention, and wanted to get it started ASAP.

“I want to see it implemented by June 1, which is the start of tourist season,” Vonesch said.

The reason for the rush is to raise funds as quickly as possible to go towards the Cortes Island Housing Society’s Community Housing project.

It’s estimated the tax will bring in an extra about $50,000 per year to help support its creation.

The project will bring an extra 24 units of permanent housing to Cortes.

Sixteen of the homes will be at below-market rates to help out families wanting to make a move or join the community. Eight of them of them will be set aside for professionals like doctors and pharmacists.

The board approved putting the letter forward, which means it’s now up to the province to approve the tax.

It’s a great opportunity for the community to really see some extra benefits through tourism.

As Campbell River director Ron Kerr put it, it’s an ideal way to prioritize the needs of locals and “an opportunity to show what [the] board can do.”