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Province providing rent relief for outdoor adventure businesses

Outdoor recreation businesses such as fishing and hunting lodges, guest ranches, ecotourism lodges and seasonal campgrounds will be able to get rent assistance from the B.C. Government.

The Province said the assistance for commercial recreation businesses that hold Land Act tenures and Park Act permits will waive their annual base rent, which is typically paid to the government, for one year.

About $1.36-million has been allocated for rent forgiveness, which will benefit 592 Land Act tenure holders and 443 Park Act permit holders across B.C.

“We want to help people who own or run outdoor recreation companies because they are important to rural economies and they’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “By offering rent relief, we hope that they can continue to contribute to the well-being of remote communities throughout British Columbia.”

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Many of B.C.’s commercial recreation companies operating mainly on backcountry areas of Crown land have seen a significant drop in business due to travel restrictions, among other factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“B.C.’s world-renowned and much-valued parks system is important to the economic health of rural and remote communities, providing opportunities for tourism and commercial recreation activities, in addition to increasingly welcome outdoor recreation for British Columbians and visitors,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The pandemic-related travel restrictions have severely impacted many commercial park operators who have been asking for relief. By forgiving rents, we are responding to the needs of these businesses that continue to offer safe and healthy outdoor experiences in our provincial parks during these challenging times.”

Annual base rent for eligible businesses will be waived from May 1st to April 30th, 2020, and a notification letter will be sent to all eligible businesses across the province.

However, client day rent will still be charged, which is typically one to six dollars for each client participating in a guided activity within a 24-hour period.

“Although rent forgiveness will not apply to client day rent for guiding, 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. Tenure holders are encouraged to contact staff in their local ministry lands office for more information,” said the Provincial Government.

As well, the assistance will not be available for rent based on revenue sharing, such as client days for guiding or all season and ski-resorts.

“B.C.’s tourism industry is among our province’s biggest economic drivers and has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. We are helping all aspects of this important industry respond, recover and work towards resiliency following COVID-19,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This initiative will provide financial relief to eligible tenure and permit holders adversely affected by the pandemic.”

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