The Rossland Ski Bus is funded through the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) program, but the program is set to end after March 31, 2018 and it’s unclear if it will be extended. (File photo)

Resort municipality funding could terminate in 2018

The future of resort municipality funding is unclear.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture officially announced $10.5 million for B.C.’s 14 resort communities on Thursday, but the future of resort municipality funding is unclear.

The funding is provided through the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) program, which was extended in Budget 2017 until March 31, 2018.

András Lukács, executive director of Tourism Rossland, announced at the regular Rossland City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10 that the City of Rossland was receiving $55,730 through the RMI program for the 2017-18 year, but said that it was still unclear if future funding would be available.

“The program is sun-setting at the end of this fiscal year and currently there is no indication of whether it will continue, how it will continue, so we don’t know what’s going to happen passed this fiscal year,” said Lukács.

He explained that this year’s RMI money will fund the Spokane Shuttle service subsidy, the Rossland Museum and Visitor’s Centre improvements, which have already been done, and the Rossland Ski Bus. But it’s not a given that any of that funding will be available moving forward.

“When we’re looking at these projects and the viability of these projects, we have to start thinking that this pot of money might not be available,” said Lukács.

Mayor Kathy Moore met with Lisa Beare, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) Convention in September, and was hopeful that the RMI program will continue.

“We did get a positive reception from the minister at the UBCM. The Tourism Minister was quite interested in learning about it and seemed to be enthusiastic,” said Moore. “Of course it isn’t all her decision.”

Asked for comment, Beare said, “We were happy to announce the total annual funding that has been made available through the Resort Municipalities Initiative program. My ministry has extended the funding by three months, from Dec. 31, 2017, through March 31, 2018. I will be meeting with the mayors of municipalities in coming months to consider options moving forward.”

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