Billings township council opposes tourism signage fee increases

Kagawong Marina, Summer 2013

KAGAWONG – Billings township has indicated it is opposed to recently announced fee increases for tourism-oriented destination signage.

“This issue has caused some concern for a lot of municipalities,” stated Billings Mayor Ian Anderson at a recent council meeting. “We have received a request for support from the County of Haliburton.”

In a letter to Billings council dated February 3, Liz Danielson, warden for the County of Haliburton wrote, “Haliburton County and our local municipalities recently became aware of a significant increase in fees being charged to businesses by Canadian Tourism Oriented Destination Signage Limited. In a time when every effort is being made to remove barriers to prosperity, this change will take money directly from the “bottom line” of small- and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits across the province.”

At a recent meeting, Haliburton County Council passed the following resolution in part: “Whereas the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture and the Ministry of Transportation supervise the delivery and maintenance of tourism oriented destination signage through a third party-Canadian TODS Limited; and whereas our tourism stakeholders and other enterprises rely heavily on this signage to direct customers to their businesses; and whereas Canadian TODS Limited recently advised their customers that fees will be doubling, beginning in 2020; and where this will result in significant financial hardship for those business owners; now therefore, be it resolved that the Haliburton Country Tourism Committee and Haliburton County Council request that the minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the minister of Transportation reconsider or phase in this fee increase, allowing an appropriate amount of time for businesses to adjust; and finally that those municipalities that support the resolution be requested to advise the ministers noted above and their local MPP of their support.”

“All of the municipalities in the County of Haliburton recognize the value of this signage and the need for cost increases to meet inflation; however, we are asking that this fee increase be reconsidered and phased in to ease the burden on our stakeholders.”

With Manitoulin municipalities and businesses relying heavily on these tourism oriented destination signs to promote their municipality or business, Billings council passed a motion in support of the County of Haliburton to be sent to Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to reconsider and phase in increases to allow time to adjust.