Page 2 of 3
"I spoke to the Ministry of Community and Rural Development, and they assured us this does not adversely affect municipalities," said Landry. "When I called the Ministry of Finance, they did agree that the municipality should not be impacted."
The Ministry of Finance told Landry they are considering two options to divide up the money, and they will put out a request to affected municipalities in the next couple of weeks.
"Their intent is to wrestle that to the ground in the fall," she said.
Landry added, however, the municipality needs to proactively express their concerns to the provincial government - and needs to coordinate its efforts with Tourism Whistler and the Whistler Chamber of Commerce.
During Tuesday's meeting, acting mayor Chris Quinlan added that he understands the HST is coming to British Columbia no matter what, and as a result Whistler needs to find a way to make the new tax work to its benefit.
"I think our energy would be best directed towards finding a solution that would have the least impact on our resort and community," said Quinlan.
On July 1, 2010, the province's seven per cent sales tax will be combined with the federal government's five per cent goods and service tax. As a result consumers will pay more tax on several goods and services currently exempt from the provincial sales tax, including restaurant meals, ski passes, and taxi rides.
The municipality currently receives the hotel tax in an agreement with the province that expires in 2011. However, senior staff members at the municipality have said in the past the tax agreement is expected to be extended.
Pay parking on TAG agenda
Whistler's Transportation Advisory Group will dive into the pay parking dilemma during their meeting on Aug. 24.
During Tuesday's public council meeting, bylaw officer Sandra Smith told councillors one of the items up for discussion at the TAG meeting is how much the municipality should charge for each of its lots.
She said the municipality wants the rates to be "more user friendly towards the different groups in Whistler."
Meanwhile, Smith said the municipality is forging ahead with the comprehensive parking strategy council asked for during July's heated public meeting.
"We are basing most of our information on a study done in 2004, which outlines all of our inventory and usage within our different parking lots," said Smith.
"We have also engaged consultation with two of the private parking companies that operate in Whistler to understand what their lot utilization and rates are. We understand that once we implement pay parking, we are really competing with them. We want to make sure we are consistent with our rates."