Council advised to cut ties with Tourism Sarnia-Lambton

A hotel room. File photo from Blackburn News

Sarnia council will discuss what has become a very contentious issue Monday.

Options for how to collect and disburse Municipal Accommodation Tax [MAT] funds will be considered.

Staff is recommending council cut ties with Tourism Sarnia-Lambton [TSL] and establish the city’s own grant program to distribute the funds to support tourism.

Mayor Mike Bradley is disappointed negotiations with TSL have reached a stalemate.

“The city tried to bring about a deal that would be also good for the city taxpayers,” said Bradley. “The money may not be large, but we feel the cost should be covered for the city staff working on this particular levy that’s going to be in the city. We are being compared to other communities, well we’re not other communities, in relation to their size and the impact of this particular levy.”

Bradley, who was absent from the last city council meeting, said he didn’t appreciate accusations made by TSL’s executive director.

Mark Perrin expressed frustration over negotiating part of the MAT agreement and accused the city of issuing an ultimatum.

“The best was done to try to resolve this issue,” Bradley said. “I will say that the rhetoric from the executive director of Tourism Sarnia-Lambton has not helped the situation at all, and he has not backed off from that position, so it leaves the city to look at its options.”

Guests staying at Sarnia’s hotels and motels started paying a four per cent tax on accommodations July 1, 2020.