Council retreat fosters team building 

New committee to examine hotel tax

At the request of hoteliers and the Whistler Chamber of Commerce council has created a new advisory committee to determine the best use of the hotel tax.

Each year the RMOW receives two per cent of the hotel tax the province collects. In 2004 the funds were in excess of $3.3 million.

The money must be used for "tourism promotion, projects and programs" and has in the past been used to fund things such as the free village shuttle.

"Given the critical financial state of Whistler’s economy, WCC (the Chamber of Commerce) believes that this matter must be addressed, and that a HTAC (Hotel Tax Advisory Committee) be established immediately, in order that it is in place to assist Mayor and Council in your review of the 2006 annual budget," wrote Chamber Chair Mike Wintemute.

The budget must be passed by May 15. Mayor Ken Melamed asked for the community’s tolerance over the coming months as resources thin out because of the commitments to the Torino Olympics.

Council asked staff to develop terms of reference of the HTAC and reminded the community that the budget can be amended after it is passed in May.

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