Langley Township wants more say in Tourism Langley

The Township voted to stay with the tourism organization it created jointly with the City.

Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese

Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese

Langley Township will continue with Tourism Langley as long as the organization is amended to give the Township more say.

At its Jan. 16 council meeting, the Township voted to stick with the joint tourism marketing organization if it has weighted votes for its two representatives, a staffer on the board as an ex-officio member, a Township representative on the committee to pick the next executive director, and better financial reporting.

The Township also wants scheduled reviews of the organization that started nine years ago.

Township Mayor Jack Froese said the most of the changes formalize what is being done, such as reviews. This sets a schedule.

New is the weighted votes to reflect that most of the hotel tax comes from Township businesses.

“It’s about 70 per cent coming through the Township,” Froese said.

The current agreement expires with the City Aug. 1, 2017, and leading up to that, the Township sought input from the hospitality sector on the future of the organization.

“The feedback I got is ‘let’s work with what there’” but make improvements to reflect how tourism has changed, he said.

He said the biggest changes have been with the community becoming a sports destination.

“Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen the Langley Events Centre com into play,” he said.

The move of teams such as the Vancouver Giants and Vancouver Stealth have increased Langley’s profile.

The community has also seen the rise of agritourism.

““I don’t think tourism stands still ever,” Froese commented.

Tourism Langley is funded through a provincial levy on hotel properties that is administered by the Ministry of Finance. Provincial law dictates that the organization receiving the hotel tax revenue must be linked to the municipalities, but the tourism organizations do have independent boards, unlike something like a chamber of commerce with is completely independent and independently funded through members.

The Tourism Langley board meet Tuesday morning and voted to accept the Township requests in principle. The organizations annual general meeting in May is when the bylaws will be changed.

Tourism Langley board chair Teri James said the board had already agreed to most of the Township requests, agreeing, for example, that financial reports should have more clarity and that each municipality should have a staff member at the table.

The City will also have a staff member on the board in a non-voting position.

James noted that the councillor positions on the board to now have been non-voting. The voting board members are stakeholders from various segments of the hospitality and tourism industries.

The current board has nine members (it can be as high as 11) and one councillor from each municipality.

In the future the board will have up to 11 members, two Township councillors and one City councillor as well as two staffers.

Tourism Langley is in the process of hiring a new executive director so when that person is in place, the organization will be doing a review, earlier than the four-year timeline requested by the Township.

“There will be a governance review in 2017,” James noted.

She said the board members came away from Tuesday’s meeting feeling good about the future of the organization.

“We more than anything wanted to see tourism langley remain in tact,” she said.

Langley Advance