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Brockville, Ont. city council to consider raising Municipal Accommodation Tax

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Brockville City Council is considering raising the city’s Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) from four per cent to ensure continuous support to the tourism industry. 

It’s not clear how high council wants to raise it.

The accommodation tax is a fee guests at hotels or bed and breakfast establishments pay when they book their stay, and is often already included in the price.

The City of Brockville implemented the tax in May of 2018, charging guests at hotels, motels, inns, resorts, hostels or dwellings four per cent of the purchase price. Bed and breakfast guests are charged $4 per night.

Other cities in Ontario have already raised their MAT. Last May, Toronto raised it from four to six per cent. On Jan. 1, Ottawa raised it to five per cent, which is similar to Kingston’s rate.

In Brockville, the funds have been allocated to promoting the city as a tourist destination, which included the hiring of a digital media manager to focus on social media and giving the city a better presence online.

Councillor Katherine Hobbs is proposing the motion, and she says the cost to maintain some of the main tourist attractions in the city is one of the reasons for her proposal.

“We want to make sure that there is money to keep all of these things up for the benefit of the people that live here,” she said. “And also to encourage people when they come here to think this is a lovely place that looks beautiful.”

The Brockville railway tunnel is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city, and it’s free to visit. However, it was built in the 1800s, and is costing the city nearly $100,000 per year to maintain.

The historic railway tunnel in Brockville, Ont.

Part of its appeal is that it’s located right on the water -- an area of Brockville that has a lot to offer tourists.

“We have beautiful parks all along the waterfront,” Hobbs explained. “So, a lot of visitors, when they come here, they flock to the tunnel and then they go down to Blockhouse Island. So, that’s one of the key things we’d like to keep in great shape.”

More to come

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