By ROY WOOD
Osoyoos council will likely say “Thank you very much” at its meeting on Tuesday as it agrees to accept $397,000 from the provincial government as the town’s share of this year’s Resort Municipalities Initiative (RMI) funding.
Osoyoos is one of 14 cities, towns and villages who get a piece of the $10.5-million pie designed to support programs and projects that enhance the visitor experience.
The program began in 2006 under the Liberal government and has been extended at least for this year by the new NDP administration.
Regular ODN readers will recall the mild panic that swept Osoyoos town hall late last month when Mayor Sue McKortoff got the mistaken impression from tourism minister Lisa Beare that the program was being left out of the provincial budget, resulting in a nearly $400,000 hole in the town’s finances.
It turned out the minister was merely calling to alert the mayor that the program would not appear as a line item in the budget, but would continue to be funded out of contingency monies.
The jurisdictions who receive RMI funding are dependent to a considerable degree on tourism to provide their economic activity.
Whistler – which actually calls itself the Resort Municipality of Whistler – gobbles up the lion’s share of the program, claiming $6.7 million in 2017.
The remaining $4 million or so is divvied up among Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet and Valemont