Editorial: Tourism spat: everyone loses

As time stretches on in the dispute between the City of Penticton and the Penticton Hospitality Association, it seems more and more likely to end up in court.

Look at it this way: the city may soon be in court facing an organization representing the majority of Penticton’s accommodators. It may, in fact, already be there, if the rumour the city is seeking an injunction against the PHA is true.

Actions like this fall under the heading of cutting off your nose to spite your face. We have to wonder what advice council is getting for them to believe going to court against a group of business owners making up one of the city’s biggest economic drivers and employers is a good plan.

This is a no-win situation for not just city hall, but the entire community. Regardless of whether city hall wins or loses in a court battle in its quest to wrest control of the additional hotel room tax away from the PHA, it is only going to add to the enmity the dispute has already stirred up between city hall and a large chunk of the business community.

And it doesn’t take a psychic to predict that if the PHA loses in court, the accommodators are going to vote against collecting the voluntary tax the next time the question is asked; a loss of some $400,000 worth of tourism market money annually.

The current city council and its predecessors have made plenty of mistakes. It’sthe nature of the beast; after all, these are just people — retirees, business people, developers, landowners — and as fallible as anyone else. Mayor and council rely on information and advice they are given.

But, as with the hockey dorm debacle that put the city in court over $1.6 million in liens against city property from unpaid contractors, we suspect there is a healthy dollop of bad advice involved in their decision-making.

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