More commercial recreation businesses get a break on rent

THE B.C. government is providing an additional $1.87 million to assist more businesses that hold eligible tenures for fishing and hunting lodges, guest ranches, ecotourism lodges, seasonal campgrounds and other commercial recreation operators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our government has identified another 438 commercial recreation operators that are eligible for rent forgiveness as part of this initiative,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “These businesses contribute significantly to rural economies, and this assistance will help remote communities recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

Commercial recreation operators that hold Land Act tenures or Park Act permits may be eligible to have the annual base rent that they pay to the Province waived for one year. This is on top of the $1.36 million allocated for rent forgiveness in September 2020, which benefited 592 Land Act tenure holders and 443 Park Act permit holders.

Many commercial recreation businesses operating on Crown land continue to be impacted by travel restrictions during the current pandemic. This rent forgiveness will assist another 398 Land Act tenure holders ($1.84 million in rent forgiveness) and 40 Park Act permit holders ($31,525 in rent forgiveness).

The total amount of rent forgiveness that has been provided to eligible commercial recreation businesses is $3.23 million for 1,473 tenures and permits (about $2.89 million for 990 Land Act tenures and about $341,000 for 483 Park Act permits).

“Our government is committed to continued support for people and businesses that provide campground spots for outdoor recreation,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “As part of our overall response to this global pandemic, this funding helps ensure people have continued access to healthy activity in nature and the outdoors, while also providing economic benefits to rural and remote communities.”

How it works:

* The rent forgiveness initiative is aimed at those 438 additional businesses whose primary purpose is providing commercial recreation activities, with ancillary uses related to transportation, accommodation, or food and beverage.

* Eligible holders of commercial recreation tenures and park use permits (under the Land Act and Park Act) will have one year of annual base rent that is owed to the provincial government waived, for invoice due dates between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021.

* A Land Act tenure holder or Park Act permit holder who is eligible for rent forgiveness will receive a notification letter.

* Rent forgiveness does not apply to rent based on revenue sharing, such as:
* client days for guiding (tenures under Part B of the Adventure Tourism Policy)

* all-season/ski resorts (under the All-Season Resort Policy or the BC Parks Ski Resort Policy)

* Over 90% of the eligible commercial recreation tenure holders will receive between $500 and $10,000 in rent forgiveness.

“British Columbia is home to many fantastic outdoor experiences throughout our communities and I’m proud our government is finding innovative ways to respond to this call to action from the adventure tourism sector so they can attract visitors back to the many recreation opportunities we have in our province,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “We’re listening and taking action so that together we can support people in the tourism sector to be ready to welcome visitors back to B.C. when the health order is lifted.”

The Province will continue to monitor the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the announcement of a second round of rent forgiveness for eligible commercial recreation businesses, the Adventure Tourism Coalition would like to thank the B.C. government for its recognition of the important role that our industry plays in British Columbia, particularly in rural areas,” said Brad Harrison, Chair of the Adventure Tourism Coalition. “The COVID-19 crisis continues to hit our sector hard. We look forward to advancing our work with the B.C. government in a collaborative and collegial fashion in order to ensure that the adventure tourism sector is able to reach its full potential in support of the socio-economic well-being of British Columbia.”

Learn More:

Adventure Tourism Policy:

Policy for Park Use Permits:

B.C. government website with additional information to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic: