Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Money earmarked for affordable housing will stay, not go to tourism: Kelowna city council

A controversial motion suggested splitting reserve between housing, tourism

Kelowna city councillors struck down a controversial motion that would’ve seen some funds earmarked for affordable housing moved to assist the struggling tourism industry on Monday night (July 13).

The report called for the online accommodation platform (OAP) revenue reserve, a tax pot that collected from short-term rental organizations like Airbnb, to be split in two for 2021 — 50 per cent to affordable housing and 50 per cent to Tourism Kelowna, rather than 100 per cent towards housing as council had previously decided.

The split was suggested due to revenue losses amid empty rooms at local hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic — and further expected struggles in the tourism industry through next year.

READ MORE: COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

READ MORE: Interior Health identifies more locations with COVID-19 exposure in Kelowna

Council quashed the motion by a vote of 5-3. Mayor Colin Basran, as well as Councillors Gail Given and Brad Sieben — who sit as council’s representative and alternate representative on the Tourism Kelowna Board — were the lone votes for. Coun. Maxine DeHart recused herself from the vote as she works in the tourism industry.

Basran said splitting the OAP wouldn’t have any effect on the city’s ability to acquire land for affordable housing projects, clarifying that the city’s affordable housing projects are always partnerships — usually with BC Housing.

“If BC Housing comes knocking tomorrow, and says we have an opportunity, I have every confidence we would be able to find a way to purchase that property to move a project forward,” Basran said.

Several of his councillors felt differently, however.

“In my opinion, once the direction is changed, we will never get it back. That’s why I think we should stay the course as long as we can because I think this will help build a foundation we need for the longer term,” said Coun. Luke Stack. He continued by saying that they need to show industry partners like BC Housing that they are committed to issues like affordable housing.

“Now that the money is in the pocket of affordable housing, I struggle philosophically to bring it back out,” said Coun. Ryan Donn.

City council did largely agree on helping “short-haul” tourism move forward immediately, supporting an advance of the monthly funds it was already set to send Tourism Kelowna for the rest of the year in a lump sum amounting around $143,500.

Tourism Kelowna plans to use those funds to market towards local, regional, provincial and Western Canadian audiences.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of Kelowna

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

Just Posted

View of Larsson Hill from DriveBC camera at 7:25 a.m. on Oct. 21. (Contributed)
Vehicle incident at Larson Hill causing delays up to one hour on Coquihalla

The incident has blocked traffic in both directions

BC Green Party candidate Amanda Poon (left) and BC Liberal Party candidate Renee Merrifield (right). (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
B.C. Votes: Kelowna-Mission candidates discuss the issues

Two of the riding’s three candidates showed up to a forum

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 confirmed at Kelowna Francophone school

École de L’Anse-au-sable is not affiliated with local SD23

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A 20-year-old man was pronounced dead following a three vehicle collision on Highway 1 west of Revelstoke Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (File photo)
One dead after Highway 1 crash near Revelstoke

20-year-old man pronounced dead at the scene of a three vehicle collision west of Revelstoke

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Steven Stuart Gardner has been charged with possession of a firearm contrary to an order and possession of a firearm without a licence. He has also been charged, under the Motor Vehicle Act, with driving while prohibited. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Car connected to shooting, dumped in Chase leads to unrelated arrest

Investigation of Kamloops shooting leads police to a rural Chase property

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

Most Read