On Nov. 9, the Strathcona Regional District passed a new tax on short term rentals on Cortes Island. Image courtesy of the Cortes Island Community Housing Society.

Cortes Island is adding a three per cent tax on short term rentals as a solution to help address the affordable housing crisis on Cortes Island.

Regional Director Mark Vonesch introduced the proposal as his first motion at the Strathcona Regional District Board meeting on Nov. 9. He says there is no cost to local property owners: the tax is paid solely by visitors.

The motion was passed unanimously by the new board and an application for implementing the tax on Cortes Island has been submitted to the BC provincial government. Vonesch is optimistic that the tax will be in place in time for the next busy tourism season in summer 2023.


A cell phone depicts a white screen with red letters that say "airbnb."

A three per cent tax is being implemented on Cortes Island in 2023. Airbnb logo courtesy of Dream Time.

He adds that the money collected from the tax will go towards funding the 20-unit Rainbow Ridge affordable rental housing project. The Cortes Community Housing Society hopes to have the project shovel ready early in 2023.

Mark Vonesch elaborates on the initiative in the interview below with CKTZ News:

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.