Fraser Canyon whitewater rafting businesses are among those eligible for support under the B.C. government’s latest tourism and accommodation assistance program. (B.C. government photo)

Fraser Canyon whitewater rafting businesses are among those eligible for support under the B.C. government’s latest tourism and accommodation assistance program. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. hotel, tourism operators offered property tax, hydro assistance

Park-use fees waived for fishing, hunting, rafting, heli-skiing

As B.C. tourism operators wait to see if they can avoid losing a third summer of business to COVID-19 restrictions, the B.C. government is offering another assistance program to help them with fixed costs such as provincial property tax and park permits.

Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said the $15 million program follows a recommendation from the province’s tourism industry task force to assist with their fixed costs to help them survive financially through the pandemic. Applications are open until Feb. 14, and funds are likely to be oversubscribed as has been the case with other pandemic aid programs.

Eligibility is in three categories, one for B.C.-owned hotels and other accommodation employing more than 150 people. They will be eligible for grants of up to 25 per cent of their property taxes, to a maximum of $500,000.

Indigenous-owned large accommodation providers on reserve lands can apply to have up to 100 per cent of their B.C. Hydro costs covered, to a maximum of $200,000. Eligible businesses include hotels, strata hotels, motels, resorts and lodges.

A third stream is commercial recreation businesses with tenure or provincial park use permits, with fees waived to a maximum of $200,000. Tourism businesses with tenures under B.C.’s Land Act or permits under the Park Act, including wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, mountaineering, horseback riding, off-road vehicle touring, whitewater rafting and heli-skiing may be eligible, along with campgrounds and outdoor recreation parks that offer activities such as waterslides and ziplines.

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