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Vernon recreation services increase fees, reduce hours for 2021 – Vernon News

Rec fees rise, hours reduced

Vernon Recreation Services will be moving forward with operations and programming, but on a smaller scale.

As part of the 2021 budget discussions, city staff and council agreed to take a middle-of-the-road approach on keeping Recreation Services operational. Out of the five tiers outlined in the proposal, tier three was chosen as the department’s plan for next year.

Tier three outlines a modified service level, which includes reduced aquatic centre and arena hours of operation. Fees will also be increasing by five per cent, along with cuts to staff training and advertising.

These cuts are undeniably directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a major impact on the recreation department.

“The pandemic has been really tough on our staff,” says Doug Ross, director of Recreation Services. “This tier three plan would help our staff and allow us to continue operations for the community.”

Vernon city council agreed to contribute $249,733 to Recreation Services, which will potentially come out of the COVID-19 recovery fund that was granted by the province. That is all contingent based on how Recreation Services’ partners choose to pay their $115,374 share.

The Centennial outdoor rink will not be reopening this year, which will likely result in some savings for the recreation department. Council voted to allow Recreation Services to use any savings from the Centennial rink closure to use at their discretion.

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Prices of some Sask. cabins increase as COVID-19 drives demand for recreation homes

a house with bushes in the background: The median price of cabins and lakehouses in the province has increased along with demand after COVID-19 complicated vacation plans elsewhere, according to the 2020 Royal LePage Winter Recreation Property Report.

© Eric Foss/CBC
The median price of cabins and lakehouses in the province has increased along with demand after COVID-19 complicated vacation plans elsewhere, according to the 2020 Royal LePage Winter Recreation Property Report.

The pandemic might be pummelling the economy across Canada, but a new report says that it’s actually helping to  bolster part of Saskatchewan’s real estate market.

The average price of cabins and lake houses in the province have increased after COVID-19 complicated vacation plans elsewhere, the 2020 Royal LePage Winter Recreation Property Report says.

As a result, there’s been an increase in demand for vacation properties sought by locals who are hoping to get away while staying close to home.

The Canadian real estate company, which annually tracks and reports price variations of winter vacation homes across Canada, measured a 31.64 per cent price increase for single-family properties near Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake and Christopher Lake.

The prices jumped from an average price of $296,250 in 2019 to $390,000 in 2020 so far.

Meanwhile, waterfront property at the two lakes also saw a 6.34 per cent bump — average prices were up from $489,000 in 2019 to $520,000 in 2020.

“Saskatchewan’s recreational market is driven by its affordability,” Lou Doderai, a broker with Royal LePage Icon Realty, was quoted as saying in the press release that accompanied the report.

“Highway developments have reduced the drive from Saskatoon to one-and-a-half hours, which makes working remotely more possible for those who still have to go into the office a few days a week.”

Albertans buying lakeside, Royal LePage says

Saskatchewan’s western neighbours might also be contributing to increased demand, the report said.

According to Royal LePage, Albertans who are now working from home are snagging lakefront property in Saskatchewan — and working from there instead.

“With the increasing ability to work remotely, Saskatchewan’s lakeside communities are becoming more popular with Albertans who don’t mind the drive,” Doderai said.

For the time being, the trend might continue.

Royal LePage projects that the price of a recreational home in the prairies will increase by an additional four per cent next year.

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Washington region braces for increase in virus cases after Thanksgiving travel

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Monday said she expects a rise in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, underscoring concerns about holiday travel as leaders across the Washington region lobby the federal government for additional financial relief.


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The District reported 371 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its highest total in a single day since the start of the pandemic. The city’s daily case rate per 100,000 people, calculated on a seven-day rolling basis, reached 27 in recent days — a number not seen since May.

While it could be weeks before the region sees the effect of Thanksgiving travel, Bowser on Monday pointed to a nationwide jump in cases that is still being felt in the nation’s capital. She reminded residents to adhere to city travel guidelines, which call on those who visit a “high risk” state to limit activities for 14 days when returning to the city. Residents and visitors can also get tested within three to five days of arriving and self-monitor for symptoms until receiving a negative test result.

[D.C. eases travel restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving while urging caution during holidays]

“We expect that we’re going to have more cases,” Bowser said. “We’re also in a good position to do a lot of testing. We have a very robust testing program, which we feel strongly will help us identify and isolate people who have been infected by covid.”

The seven-day average of new daily infections across the greater Washington region on Monday was 4,662, down slightly from a high of 4,989 recorded on Thanksgiving Day.

The region on Monday recorded 3,920 new cases and 20 deaths. Maryland added 1,923 cases and 16 deaths; Virginia had 1,893 ­cases and four deaths; and D.C. recorded 104 cases and no additional deaths.

Neil J. Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Maryland, said it could be weeks before spikes in cases are seen that stem from Thanksgiving travel. Health experts had long cautioned residents to avoid traveling over the traditionally busy period — and also to avoid in-home gatherings.

“With the public attitude we saw towards travel over Thanksgiving, it’s very hard to think we won’t see an impact,” Sehgal said. “Cases will undoubtedly increase in the D.C. region.”

Maryland health officials said Monday that a child died Sunday of the coronavirus, becoming the pandemic’s youngest victim in the state. Officials didn’t release the child’s age, saying only that the victim was 9 or younger. No other information was available about the child or the nature of the death.

As caseloads continue to jump, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday wrote to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, saying the state’s top priority is another round of stimulus funding to help battle the virus.

[Coronavirus cases and metrics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia]

Hogan, who has advocated for more federal funding since spring, told the transition team that small businesses, as well as state and local governments, need money soon.

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Vacation rental bookings in SC saw an increase for Thanksgiving 2020

The ongoing pandemic didn’t affect travel for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Horry and Georgetown Counties based on recent data. 

For the week ending on Black Friday, vacation rental bookings in Horry and Georgetown counties increased from 44.5% booked in 2019 to 65.2% booked in 2020. 

Taylor Damonte, the CCU professor who puts out the school’s weekly tourism update through the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Tourism said the weather this year may have played a role in that increase. 

“The vacation rental properties had a pretty good fall, this was the first year since 2014 that we didn’t have a major named tropical event,” Damonte said. “Vacation rental bookings were substantially above where they were for the week beginning November 21-27. They’re substantially above where they were for the equivalent week last year.”

Damonte said these numbers are based on the center’s observations of random samples of internet websites and vacation rental properties in the coastal sections of Horry and Georgetown counties. He said although vacation rental properties saw a strong week, hotels and condo-hotels aren’t seeing the same strong numbers. 

“Of course the pandemic impacted tourism more broadly. The vacation rental market was quite strong this fall. While occupancy is still down a point or two for the year in the vacation rentals it is not down as much as it is in the hotels or condo-hotels,” Damonte said. 

He said vacation rental properties were able to rebound from the earlier months and although December is typically a slow time for these properties, they may see strong numbers in December as well.

“Typically, occupancy in December is 20-30% and that again is the slowest month of the year. December and January are the slowest months of the year and we expect that to be the case this year,” Damonte said. “The vacation homes seem to be doing as well as they did last year if not better than they did last year during the fall and that may continue as well during December.”

Preliminary results show that for the week ending on Nov. 21, a voluntary sample of hotel, condo-hotel, and campsite properties the average percent occupancy decreased more than 9% compared to the same time last year.

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Grand Strand vacation rental property bookings see holiday week increase despite pandemic

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – If it has felt bit busier along the Grand Strand this holiday week to you, you may be right.

a house with trees in the background: Rental home in North Myrtle Beach. (Source: WMBF News)

© Provided by Myrtle Beach-Florence WMBF-TV
Rental home in North Myrtle Beach. (Source: WMBF News)

Grand Strand vacation rental property bookings have seen an increase this holiday week despite the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe because of it.

Amid calls from public health officials to forgo large family gatherings this Thanksgiving holiday due to the ongoing pandemic, the Grand Strand is seeing an increase bookings of vacation rental properties.

Results of a recent survey from the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism at Coastal Carolina University show reservations of vacation rental properties along the Grand Strand from Nov. 21 to Nov. 27 are up more than 5% compared to the 2019 Thanksgiving week.

According to the survey, 65.2% of area vacation rental properties were booked for this past week compared to 59.7% for last year’s Thanksgiving week, which fell from Nov. 23 to Nov. 29.

Researchers with the Center for Resort Tourism added with the weather predicted for this weekend, average occupancy may be near or above 70%.

The increase in bookings hasn’t just come this week.

While year-over-year hotels have seen a slight dip in occupancy over the six-week period ending Nov. 14, vacation rental properties have seen a drastic 77% jump in use over the same time period, according to survey data.

Hotels, condo-hotels and campsites on the other hand have not seen as many visitors, with average occupancy dropping 2% and average daily rates dropping just over 9% during the same six-week period compared to 2019.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.

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How Does a Hotel Revenue Management System Help Increase Profit?

The hotel revenue management needs to follow new trends and technologies to increase their profit.

FREMONT, CA: The meaning of hotel revenue management can be described as selling the accurate room to the precise client at the right moment and the right place with a precise distribution channel with the best commission efficiency.

The hotel revenue management has to balance the demand and capacity by estimating the prices to increase the hotel’s resources. The increasing demand for the internet, along with the growth of online travel agencies and review portals, have included more dimensions in the field. Traditional hotel revenue management has become more complicated due to the innovative development in the area. But with its new process, the hotel revenue management offers an original method to reasonably and objectively measure the pricing and customer satisfaction.

Steps to Getting Started with Revenue Management

Even though the world of hotel revenue can be complicated, some steps can help apply for a revenue management program in a property for the first time. It will help the organizations if they review the steps at regular intervals so that the property can follow the best practices to increase revenue. Here are some of the essential steps that the properties can follow.

• Historical results

• Booking space

• Channel management

• Group revenue management

• The basics

• Segmentation

• Pricing

• Budgets and forecasts

Trends for Modern Revenue Management

Hotel revenue management has witnessed several new best practices and tools in the past few years. The two primary factors that affect a modern revenue manager’s success are how well RMs combine their knowledge with the big picture and the tools they are utilizing.

Apart from the timeless fundamental trends like pricing strategies, many current trends and techniques are being used in the system. These new techniques are crucial as it will help the growth of revenue and increase direct bookings. Revenue management must take advantage of these systems if they want to profit and remain steady in the competitive market.

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Andrew Cuomo to increase National Guard enforcement of coronavirus travel restrictions

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will enforce new testing requirements for entering New York by increasing the amount of National Guardsmen at airports amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Andrew Cuomo wearing a suit and tie

© Provided by Washington Examiner

Cuomo announced the move at his Friday press conference.

The entry rules that Cuomo announced last week require people traveling to New York to provide a negative coronavirus test before entering and then take another one four days after they arrive. New Yorkers who return from traveling within 24 hours of leaving New York only have to take a test after reentering, not before. Travelers who fail to comply must quarantine for two weeks.

“I want people to know we’re serious,” Cuomo said about increasing the National Guard’s presence. He said that he had also spoken with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about increasing the amount of local law enforcement to assist with enforcing the testing requirements.

New York experienced almost 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the highest total in months.

Additionally, Philadelphia is considering new restrictions as cases rise in the city.

“Everything is on the table now,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in an interview with the local CBS affiliate. He did not provide specifics on which restrictions were being considered.

On Friday, health officials in Philadelphia reported 742 news cases of COVID-19. The positivity rate is now at 14%.

Tags: News, Healthcare, Coronavirus, New York, New York City, Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, National Guard, National Security, Foreign Policy

Original Author: David Hogberg

Original Location: Andrew Cuomo to increase National Guard enforcement of coronavirus travel restrictions

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Oakland County voters overwhelmingly approve parks and recreation tax increase | Elections

For the first time in 54 years, Oakland County voters approved a tax increase to support the operation and maintenance of the county’s parks and recreation system. 

It was the first tax increase asked by the 13-park system in over five decades, but it’s clear that voters were not deterred by the ask just by looking at the approval margin. 

Voters overwhelmingly approved the proposal, which increased the tax rate from .2310 mills ($0.23 per $1,000 taxable value) to .35 mills ($0.35 per $1,000 taxable value). The new rate will cost the owner of a home or business valued at $200,000 (taxable value of $100,000 approximately) $12 more, for a total of $35 year to maintain the parks system.


  • YES: 537,689 votes, 76.32%
  • NO: 166,841 votes, 23.68%

The county’s park system, which attracts 2 million visitors annually, has a combined 7,000 acres and 80 miles of trails. The additional revenue will be used to improve, operate, and maintain park, open space, infrastructure, facilities, water areas, trails, and recreation areas. . 

Holly Oaks ORV opened its gates for the first time on Thursday, Sept. 17 greeted by a roaring line of vehicles ready to ride.

Democrats dominate Oakland County ballots on Election Day

Oakland County is a little more blue than it was 24 hours ago. 

How will new funding be used?

  • Free county park day-use passes to seniors (62+), veterans, active military and individuals with permanent disabilities
  • Expanding the trails network
  • Improving environment protection and sustainability efforts
  • Continuing funding for OCPR’s annual operations
  • Repairing deferred maintenance in county parks
  • Preserving and supporting community partnerships that expand recreation opportunities for residents

Clerks in some of Oakland County’s largest communities are calling Election Day a challenge due to the surge in absentee ballots, but an overa…

The system’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget totals $28 million. It was developed based on the need to maintain, improve and manage more than 230 assets, buildings, natural areas and recreation features.

The system’s capital improvement program and maintenance management plan projects are budgeted at $2.79 million. Here’s a list of some of the major projects planned for 2021:

  • Replacement of the children’s water feature at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights
  • Replacement of HVAC system at the Activity Center in Springfield Oaks County Park
  • Electrical improvements at Addison Oaks County Park’s Conference Center
  • Natural area restoration at the Mill Pond Dam in Springfield Oaks County Park
  • Continued Natural Resource stewardship at all park locations
  • Replacement of the irrigation system at White Lake Oaks County Park
  • Upgrades to the disc golf course at Addison Oaks County Park
  • Painting the historic Ellis Barn at Springfield Oaks County Park in Davisburg


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Hampton Roads hotel industry ends streak of highest occupancy rate in market; performance sees slight increase

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Old Dominion University Dragas Center for Economic Analysis released new data on Wednesday that show a decrease in hotel revenues and rooms sold throughout Virginia and Hampton Roads this week.

The local hotel industry’s streak of having the highest occupancy rate among the top 25 markets in the nation, ended this week. Its occupancy rate is now ranked fourth among the top markets.  

Dragas says that the area continues to see the smallest declines in both occupancy and RevPAR among the top 25 markets since the week of Sept. 6 through Sept. 12.

According to STR data released, hotel revenues are down 45%, and rooms sold are down by 28% since this time last year.

In some instances, data shows that the Average Daily Rate paid for a hotel room during the week of Oct. 25 dropped 23% and the Revenue Per Available Room dropped by 44%.

That is putting some hotel stays at less than $83.62 a room — which is slightly cheaper than the last report.

The overall occupancy rate of hotels in Hampton Roads for the past four weeks — when compared with the same time last year — shows a decline by 18%, ADR by 13%, and RevPAR by 28%.

Rooms sold during the latest week fell by 46% in the Virginia portion of the Washington market and 17% in the Hampton Roads market. The Chesapeake/Suffolk market fared better than other submarkets in Hampton Roads with a decrease in rooms sold by 11.6%.   

Within the Hampton Roads market, hotel revenue fell by 38% in Williamsburg, 35% in Norfolk/Portsmouth, 27% in Newport News/Hampton, 19% in Chesapeake/Suffolk, and 18.5% in Virginia Beach. 

Rooms sold fell by 32% in Williamsburg, 19% in Norfolk/Portsmouth, 14% in Newport News/Hampton, and 13% in Virginia Beach.

Over the last four weeks, the data also shows that the Williamsburg hotel market has the poorest performance. The city led with declines in occupancy by 41%, ADR by 13%, RevPAR by 49%, room revenues by 51%, and rooms sold by 44%.

“Performance of the hotels in the commonwealth during this week was in general slightly better than last week,” said Professor Vinod Agarwal of the Dragas Center. “COVID-19 continues to have adverse impacts on this industry.”

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Novato Voters Approve Hotel Tax Hike, San Rafael Passes Sales Tax Increase

Novato residents Tuesday appeared to favor, by a three-to-one margin, a ballot measure that would increase the city’s hotel tax by 2 percent.

With all 13 of the city’s precincts reporting, slightly more than 77 percent of Novato voters favored the “transient occupancy tax” increase. The city’s current transient occupancy tax is 10 percent of a hotel guest’s room rate and has remained unchanged since 1997.

The 2 percent hotel tax increase would provide an additional $400,000 in annual tax revenue, according to city officials.

Novato collected $1.82 million in hotel tax revenue during the 2019-2020 fiscal year but is projected to collect only $1.45 million during the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

City officials estimate the tax increase could boost hotel tax revenue by $400,000 in its first 12 months. All hotel tax funding is used to fund local expenditures like infrastructure repairs, emergency response services and recovery efforts from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere in Marin County, San Rafael voters appeared poised to approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase over nine years that is estimated to generate some $3.4 million per year for services like street repairs, disaster preparedness and park maintenance.

Just over 62 percent of San Rafael voters approved of the measure, according to the county’s unofficial election results.

The measure’s approval would nudge the city’s sales tax rate to 9.25 percent. All sales tax revenue would be placed in the city’s general fund, according to San Rafael City Attorney Robert Epstein.

Unofficial results also showed Marin County voters overwhelmingly supporting three school district funding measures, including a pair of parcel tax extensions.

The Shoreline Unified School District’s Measure L, which would extend a $212 per parcel tax for eight years, had roughly 84 percent support from voters with both of the district’s precincts reporting.

Measure M, which would extend the Tamalpais Union High School District’s $469 annual per parcel tax for nine years, had nearly 74 percent support, according to unofficial results from the district’s 57 precincts.

Some 77 percent of voters in the Sausalito Marin City School District appeared to support a measure that would authorize the district to issue $41.6 million in bonds, which district officials said will fund the construction and modernization of classrooms and upgrades to the district’s libraries and science labs, among other things.

Marin County election officials have reported 101,111 ballots cast as of Tuesday night. Approximate 58 percent of the county’s registered voters cast a ballot, according to the county.

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