Tofino surf events could be subject to municipal fees

A Tofino councillor says large surfing events can sometimes tax the infrastructure and property of the district. In turn, the district is considering a tax on those events.

Coun. Duncan McMaster says fees would be aimed at larger, sponsored events, not small, local ones

Surfing is a major reason people make the trip to Tofino. The district council is considering a fee on larger surfing events hosted by the district. (The Canadian Press)

Tofino municipal council wants to charge a fee for surfing events because they say companies profit from them and should pay up.

Tofino is a prime surfing destination in B.C., and hosts several surfing events throughout the year.

Councillor Duncan McMaster says companies who host surfing events use district land and resources and profit from marketing, promotion and exposure.

"I think like every other community, we're looking for other sources of revenue apart from property taxes," he told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

McMaster says the district is looking at charging larger, sponsored events, not so much the small, local ones that are more aimed at people in the community.

McMaster says those larger events can be taxing on municipal infrastructure and occasionally result in minor property damage.

The exact fee structure hasn't been worked out, but McMaster says the aim is not to make the fees "onerous."

"I'd be surprised if a company that was using a surfing event as a marketing, promotional aspect could not afford a nominal fee," he said.

McMaster says before any fees are imposed, a staff study needs to be tabled on the issue, and council needs to engage in consultations with the local surf industry.

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Bummer, dude! Tofino council considering fees for surf events


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