Speakers debate Silver Star Resort proposal

By Pete McIntyre / KISS FM Vernon
November 1, 2017 - 4:28pm

VERNON, B.C. — The plan to form a resort association at Silver Star is creating a mountain of debate.

A task force is pushing the idea to improve marketing for the resort.

It it’s approved, it would add an annual tax to homeowners who rent out their places, with the revenue used to market the resort.

Task force co-chair Don Kassa says all ski resorts are competing globally for skier visits.

“I just feel we have to do everything we can to make our resort as attractive as possible in the world’s eye,” Kassa tells Kiss FM.

Kassa says approval would free up funds from the hotel tax for marketing.

“The provincial government already charges a hotel tax, but currently the hotel tax goes into general coffers for the province. If we had a resort association, the community could garner those funds.”

Kassa says his father was among those who started the resort in 1958.

“And I certainly would not be in favour of anything that would be against the best interests of the ski resort, given my family’s attachment to it.”

Resident Martin George is opposed, saying the issue has divided the community, pitting property owners who rent, and those who don’t.

“And this leads to divisions — strong divisions — when you are talking about it,” he tells Kiss FM.

George says it’s created a rift with their friends and business owners on the task force who support the idea.

“They are friends — and I certainly hope they remain so — but they have not been straight forward because there is a profit in this for them.”

George says the change would cost him about $400 a year, but he wonders if that will rise in future years.

A public hearing will be held at the Regional District of North Okanagan office starting at 1 this afternoon,with 15 people scheduled to speak.

The RDNO board will make a recommendation on the proposal, but the final  decision will be up to the province.

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