WHITE ROCK - A recent decision by the White Rock Business Improvement Association to cut funding to Tourism White Rock is putting future tourism-related initiatives in question, according to Mayor Wayne Baldwin.
Last Monday the BIA held its annual general meeting, where it was decided that cuts would be made to website maintenance and the rental of a billboard on Highway 99, among other tourism-related initiatives. The cuts are estimated to save the BIA around $20,000 per year, but Baldwin is wondering why the organization would cut funding to something that is supposed to be the BIA's main priority.
"It just seems to be a strange decision to make despite the fact that the two entities are linked," said Baldwin. "White Rock tourism was given birth as a result of the need on the part of the BIA and the city to do business promotion and to bring tourists into White Rock and it just seems to me to be a bit shortsighted to take away funding from that entity, which exists solely to enhance businesses, not the general population."
As such, Baldwin said it would be inappropriate for the city to commit more funding to tourism in lieu of the BIA's cuts, as money derived from taxation should not go to something benefiting just the city's businesses.
"So we'll have to take a look at that. In the long run we'll find ways to get around that, but in the short run, it does cause a bit of concern," he said. "The BIA was formed as something to do a benefit for the businesses, so we can't really."
As for the billboard advertising White Rock to those driving by the Douglas border crossing, Baldwin said he isn't sure what will happen. Currently the cost of the billboard, estimated to be around $40,000, is split between the BIA and the city.
"It was put there for their benefit only. So if that's what they want to do and is the decision of the businesses and they take their funding away, I guess we would have to go along with that," said Baldwin.
"Council is going to have to take this whole thing into consideration. This took us by surprise and we haven't really had a chance do anything about this, but we'll get there."
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