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REPORTING · 12th December 2011
Merv Ritchie
Today at Terrace City Council Kermodei Tourism Society (KTS) will be asking for a letter of support with “A formal declaration that the City of Terrace will not interfere in any way with the administration of funds or operational functions of KTS,” This request appears to be a direct reference to the interference the City of Terrace had in the operations and the final demise of the former Terrace Tourism Society.

During the last regular sitting of Terrace City Council, the final appearance of Councillors; Martindale, Leclerc and Pollard, this issue was raised and tabled to be heard again tonight, Monday, December 12, 2011. Martindale provided a brief overview of a meeting he attended with Kermodei Tourism at the Heritage Park but neglected to detail the concerns raised by the Hoteliers.

When asked at the end of the meeting if the Hoteliers concerns were regarding the inappropriate interference by the City into the affairs of the Terrace Tourism Society Mayor Pernarowski and Councillor Leclerc became perceivably defensive. Leclerc read directly from a bylaw being presented regarding the implementation of the tax at the Regional District Kitimat Stikine and Mayor Pernarowski stated the media should reproduce her words exactly as she read.

“And I think it is really important to know that the Terrace Daily and the Standard can all help with what we’re trying to accomplish here when we’re having this discussion and that is to get that information out, exactly as what was just read out – because – at the end of the day it’s very important that we have the two percent visitor tax in place so we can do the kind of marketing and promotion that we want to do, to create that interest for this area.”

What is important is the truth, not a dressed up and changed version of reality. Kermodei Tourism is directed by a group of volunteers approved by the City. The forerunner, the Terrace Tourism Society (TTS), was also directed by volunteers but they were approved of by those collecting the two percent tax, the hotel and motel operators. The City interfered with and made the hotel and motel operator volunteers out as scapegoats. As one hotelier stated “We were all of a sudden the bad guys.”

No one has ever apologized to the volunteers who organized and successfully implemented this two percent tax for marketing Terrace to the world. The only result was the final success by the former Executive Director of the TTS, Jennifer Lewis, in receiving an undisclosed settlement from the City due to the actions of the current Mayor when he assisted the city in the dissolution of the TTS.

Today Kermodei is asking the City to reaffirm and state firmly they will not interfere yet the entire foundation of the volunteer base of directors has the City of Terrace holding final authority on who can even be a director.

Leclerc even suggested while she was participating in the discussions, of using Kermodei Tourism funds for helping with the Fireworks expenses stating this could be considered a tourism related function. It was this attitude that destroyed the original Terrace Tourism Society, the City of Terrace wanting to use the funds for things inappropriate to the law and the intent of the extra two percent tax. None of these funds are permitted to be used for functions previously or currently funded by other sources or entities. This condition was to avoid having the taxes collected used to compete. And it was our line of questioning that had Leclerc read out the bylaw in full which had Mayor Pernarowski suggest the Terrace Daily and the Standard report as he instructed, “exactly as what was just read out.”

Mayor Dave began his response to our questioning with, “I don’t think it would be appropriate to have that conversation here and now …” If not now, when?

Today the Executive Director of Kermodei Tourism, Grahame Genge stated he believed they had the support required, over 51% of the hotels hosting over 51% of the rooms available in the Terrace area.

As the Mayor correctly pointed out the collection of this tax to market Terrace is important. What is more important is honesty. This is something, as we stated during the last meeting of the last council, sadly lacking in Terrace.

Watch a compilation of the entire exchange by opening the video file attached below.
Echo of Kim Campbell's election speech
Comment by c. sandecki on 12th December 2011
"Mayor Dave began his response to our questioning with, “I don’t think it would be appropriate to have that conversation here and now …” If not now, when?"