Tourism Minister Lisa Beare didn’t say what consultation with business was done before moving the date of Family Day to the third Monday in February. (Hansard TV)

B.C. tourism companies wait for effect of later Family Day weekend

NDP moved holiday to third Monday in February to match other provinces

B.C. residents will have to wait an extra week for their next Family Day long weekend, as the NDP government’s shift to the third Monday in February takes effect for the first time.

It wouldn’t have been on many people’s list of pressing problems, but moving the date to match the holiday in other provinces was a high priority for Premier John Horgan, with the amendment debated last February in the B.C. legislature. Introducing Family Day had been a signature move for former premier Christy Clark in 2013, but the NDP decided her decision to make it earlier than other provinces was business-friendly but not family-friendly.

B.C. ski resorts in particular pressed for the earlier date, to avoid room shortages and long lift lines as out-of-province tourists travelled on the common Family Day long weekend. When B.C. Liberal critic Michelle Stilwell asked Tourism Minister Lisa Beare what consultation was done with thousands of tourism businesses, Beare repeatedly ducked the question, calling the previous government “out of touch with the people.”

“I have answered questions about Family Day a number of times in this house, and my answer remains the same,” Beare said Feb. 20, 2018. “Moving Family Day was the right thing for families in British Columbia.”

Beare then described government consultations on raising the minimum wage and dealing with the opioid overdose crisis, before the Speaker cut her off.

An executive at Big White Ski Resort predicted the move would be “a disaster,” with B.C.’s popular resorts having room capacity problems.

“All we’re doing is cramming everyone into one weekend,” Michael Ballingall told the Kelowna Capital News. “So you’re just displacing people from B.C. with people who have already booked from America and Ontario.”

RELATED: Family Day move ‘disastrous,’ says Big White official

RELATED: ‘Say what?’ Readers weigh in on Family Day move

The NDP move was applauded by some. “I understand the business perspective, but this isn’t Business Day. It’s Family Day,” a reader of the Nelson Star commented on the news. But a reader poll in the Revelstoke Review found two thirds opposed to moving the date to match the rest of the country.

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok said his region’s ski areas and tourist-dependent businesses will feel the effects of the change.

“Everyone knows prices fluctuate on the busier holidays,” Clovechok said. “Now it’s more expensive for B.C. residents to go skiing, go out to dinner, whatever.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WATCH: City of West Kelowna opens up for public hearings

City staff have made sure residents keep their distance to minimize COVID-19 transmission

Peachland recovery task force proposes larger patios

Several initiatives proposed by the Peachland COVID-19 recovery task force will go to council tonight

Motorbike crash on Glenmore Road

Traffic is slow going on Glenmore Road headed north

Suspected social media accounts of accused Kelowna hamster torturer emerge

Leighton Allen Labute, 20, is facing six charges related to his alleged torture of a hamster

North Westside residents shocked at fire chief’s suspension

Communities association president said they don’t know why the suspension happened

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Fatal motorcycle crash on Highway 97 near Summerland

The incident involving a motorcycle happened just before 4 p.m.

Tagging Suicide Hill in Vernon in lieu of grad party?

City councillor pitches idea to revive old tradition amid COVID-19 pandemic

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

North Okanagan campers trashing rules

Campers still pitching tents, and leaving garbage, despite sites not being open until June 1

Most Read