Authors: Ryan Morasiewicz, Negina Khalil
The outdoor/adventure industry has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, businesses such as fishing and hunting lodges, guest ranches, ecotourism lodges, seasonal campgrounds and other commercial recreation operators in British Columbia may be eligible for rent relief.
Specifically, those who hold Land Act tenures or Park Act permits may qualify to have the annual base rent they pay to the government waived for one year. Approximately $1.6 million has been allocated for rent forgiveness, benefitting an estimated 592 Land Act tenure holders and 443 Park Act Permit holders.
Who is eligible?
- Rent forgiveness targets commercial recreational operators whose primary purpose is outdoor recreation activities, with ancillary uses related to transportation, accommodation or food and beverage.
What does the rent relief entail?
- Eligible holders of commercial recreation tenures and park-use permits under the Land Act and Park Act will have one year of annual base rent owed to the provincial government waived for invoice due dates between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021.
What will commercial recreation operators receive?
- Tenure holders and permit holders who are eligible for rent forgiveness will receive a notification letter.
- Tenure holders and permit holders who pay Land Act or Park Act “client days” rent, with invoice dates between May 2020 and April 2021, will receive rent forgiveness for their base rent (e.g., $500 for a license of occupation), but not for client day rent (note: “client day” rent is typically $1 to $6 for each client participating in a guided adventure activity within a 24-hour period).
- However, an interest-free payment plan agreement is available to tenure holders for at least six months to help address the financial impacts of the pandemic.
What does rent forgiveness not apply to?
- Rent forgiveness does not apply to rent that is based on revenue sharing, such as client days for guiding (tenures under Part B of the Adventure Tourism Policy) or all-season/ski resorts (under the All-Season Resort Policy or the B.C. Parks Ski Resort Policy).
Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture stated that B.C.’s tourism industry is one of the province’s biggest economic drivers and has been one of the most adversely impacted by the pandemic. This initiative is intended to provide financial relief to eligible tenure and permit holders to help them respond, recover and work towards resiliency following COVID-19.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.