Michael Ballingall

Big White opposed to BC Family Day switch

Date change would negatively impact B.C. tourism, consumers, says Kelowna area resort

A move by the provincial government to switch the BC Family Day holiday from the second to third Monday in February would be a disaster for the tourism industry, says the executive vice-president of Big White Ski Resort.

Michael Ballingall says such a move would be a huge mistake for British Columbians, who would find themselves competing with other Canadians and Americans for tourist accommodations.

The third Monday of February is not a national holiday, but many provinces have their own holidays on that date, while it is the national President’s Day holiday in the U.S.

Ballingall said the race to make reservations the previous fall could dash potential travel hopes and prices would be higher due to the long weekend peak traffic period.

“This is the best option for British Columbians looking to take advantage of a long weekend traveling and it’s why Christy Clark picked the second Monday for the holiday,” said Ballingall, referring to the initiative created by the former Liberal government in 2013.

“Leave it where it is or otherwise you create a sweepstakes to see who can get higher priced long weekend bookings, where you are competing with Americans and Albertans and people from Ontario at higher rates.”

Ballingall was responding to a tweet on the weekend by the NDP government, sending out a potential trial balloon about the prospect of changing the BC Family Day date.

“The tourism minister was here all day last Friday to announce funding for the rail trail project and didn’t say a word to anyone about this all day. This is not something the tourism industry will be supportive of, particularly in the ski industry, and it means a potential tax generating revenue loss for the provincial government because fewer British Columbians will be able to travel to tourism destinations,” Ballingall said.

The push to have the dates changed comes from several fronts.

Ballingall said the finance industry has complained about BC Family Day occurring when the Toronto Stock Exchange is open, then working the following Monday when the market is closed. As well, federal government employees in B.C. do not get the day off.

The United B.C. Family Day petition initially launched in 2015 now boasts 20,000 signatures, with the support of BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

The emphasis behind the petition cites the benefit for families from different provinces to have a synchronized holiday.

The Surrey Board of Trade shared that sentiment, with CEO Anita Guberman saying many people have to work on BC Family Day to keep pace with their colleagues in other regions of Canada.

“I just think that in the spirit of the holiday where we’re supposed to spend time with our families, we need to take a look at where this holiday is positioned in the month,” Huberman said.

At the Union of B.C. Municipalities Conference last month, a resolution was also adopted, introduced by the Quesnel delegation, to have the holiday switched.

Ballingall feels those opinions are shortsighted, overlooking the benefit the holiday on the second Monday of the month brings to the province from both a business and consumer perspective.

He said while there may be a perception of widespread support for such a move, he says only 10 to 20 per cent of the population actually opt for a long weekend vacation.

“Eighty to 90 per cent of people don’t do anything anyway. But for those people who do want to do something, accommodation will be sold out at a premium price, and the same goes for heading to the U.S. on an American holiday long weekend. Prices go up,” he said.

A BC Ministry of Tourism spokesperson said while the topic has generated some social media discussion in recent days, there has been no definitive decision from the government yet to change the BC Family Day date.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

Celebrating 50 years of Rotary in action

The Rotary Club of Ladysmith was formed September 20, 1970

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Paul Manly reacts to Liberal throne speech

Manly says the Liberals need to back up their promises with action

Island Savings closes Ladysmith branch

Ladysmith branch members can be served by the Chemainus branch

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Police seek help in naming Cowichan farm stand theft suspect

Video captured man prying cash box out of stand on Norcross Road

Most Read