In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer). Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1984. Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.
Some context for this week’s question: According to an article in the Whistler Question in the March 29, 1984 edition, the provincial government granted Whistler and other BC resorts the power to levy a municipal sales tax, a first for the province. These powers applied to resort towns with a population under 10,000 (at the time, Whistler did meet this requirement) and allowed these municipalities to levy a local sales tax of up to 2% on liquor sold by the drink, day ski lift passes, meals, hotel accommodations, condominiums rented for under 30 days, food, clothing, and other retail merchandise. According to Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Curtis, the provincial government had realised that “resort areas often unduly tax local ratepayers to provide needed resort amenities” and this tax would shift some of that onto the visitor. While this article was revealed as an April Fool’s joke in the editorial of that edition, the tax proposed was similar to the Municipal and Regional District Tax that was introduced by the provincial government in 1987, which still applies today. Learn more about the MRDT program in Whistler here.
Question: Do you think a municipal sales tax is a good idea for Whistler?
Roger Galibois – Surveyor – Dawson Creek
I think that by and large people in Whistler are getting the benefit of the tourists. I just don’t agree that sales taxes are a good idea, period. Everybody knows that tourists pay a pretty penny as it is.
Jim McKay – Restaurateur – Prince Albert, Sask.
No, in my opinion. I think people here should pay the money and leave us poor people alone. Somebody’s going to have to pay, it’s just a matter of how.
Carl Wassersleben – Mechanic – San Francisco
Sure, that would be a great idea. I wouldn’t mind it at all. A lot of American visitors look at the exchange rate and it’s not too bad. If they can take two per cent and turn it around to make it work for the community it’s all right.