I’m glad to see continuing coverage by NEWS editor John Harding on the lack of Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funding for Parksville Qualicum Beach based on an arbitrary ratio of hotel rooms to population.
When I asked Parksville council several years ago about this, they didn’t seem concerned that we’re missing out on significant funding that would enhance the region’s ability to attract tourists and tourist dollars. Instead of supporting an increase in the number of hotel rooms, council’s plan for the waterfront, beginning with the Beach Club Resort development, has been to change the zoning regulations from tourist commercial to a mix of residential and tourist commercial. The number of hotel rooms is therefore decreasing. Perhaps we reap what council sees fit to sow.
If council wanted to consider a more creative approach, they could designate a piece of city-owned undeveloped land a Resort Municipality. This would be similar to the new (2012) Jumbo Glacier Resort Municipality near Invermere that qualifies for RMI funding even though no one lives there and there are as yet no hotel rooms. It is a devious way of supporting developers. No wonder MLA Michelle Stilwell has been told to say the government can’t afford to broaden the program to existing municipalities that rely on tourism.