No action taken on Cornwall bed tax petition

A sign welcomes travellers to the Monte Carlo Motel on Montreal Road in Cornwall, Ont. on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. City council has received a petition from roughly a dozen hoteliers, including Susan Denneny of the Monte Carlo, against the new bed tax. The city won't be taking any action on it. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Cornwall city council won’t be taking any action on a petition it received from about a dozen hoteliers in the city to scrap the bed tax.

The 4 per cent tax, collected by all hotel and motels in the city, has been in place for about three weeks.

Council formally received the petition last night (June 25) to repeal the tax, which came into effect June 1. Those that signed it are the smaller independent or secondary chain hotel-motel operators.

The money collected will be split 50-50 – half going to Cornwall Tourism, the other half into a dedicated corporate entity which will be controlled by a board of directors, which will have hotel and motel members on it. That money will be used for tourism projects or tourism-related infrastructure.

Planning General Manager Mark Boileau told council to “stay the course” and that having the tax would have “no or little effect” on whether tourists select a hotel in Cornwall.

Coun. Bernadette Clement asked whether the hotel-motel owners were included in the discussions after the plan to have the tax, allowed by the provincial government in May 2017 as a new revenue tool, started in February. The petition – received by the city 14 days after the tax was in place – claims they were left out.

“In the entire process, I would suggest that the tourism office and the economic development office did communicate with the hotels and motels through the process,” Boileau answered.

Boileau added that all the feedback they received happened and was considered before the tax was in place.

Many other municipalities in Eastern Ontario already have the bed tax, such as Kingston and Brockville.

There are roughly 1,200 hotel rooms in Cornwall.