NL Gazette

Fogo Island Inn, town get in government negotiator to fix $57K tax dispute

Nfld and Labrador

Key takeaways: 

  • Hotel operator Shorefast owes municipality business tariffs from the COVID-19 closedown.
  • The Fogo Island Inn is in a bitter conflict with the Town of Fogo Island over outstanding business taxes.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has been carried in to negotiate a tax debate between a high-end hotel and the Town of Fogo Island.

Shorefast, the Fogo Island Inn operator and a significant employer on the island, denies paying a part of its municipal tax bill from the first 16 months of the outbreak.

“The amount of our bill that we are discussing is the $57,000 in business tariffs (2020 through June 2021) when the inn was forcibly shut due to the government-imposed travel embargo that cuts us off from our visitors, 96 percent of which come from outside Atlantic Canada,” reads a letter sent to Fogo Island citizens this week. 

“During our 16 months of the shutdown, however, the inn and Shorefast took on millions of dollars in debt so that we could arise from the pandemic in good standing, get our entire team back to work, and continue operations.”

Read more: Provincial health authorities to be tucked into a single board

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has been carried in to negotiate a tax debate

The letter from Shorefast says that in December 2020, the Town of Fogo Island proposed to waive business taxes for businesses that remained shut the whole year due to the pandemic. 

“Shorefast applied because the inn was open every 38 days at the start of 2020 during the lowest portion of our season and ended the year in a place of substantial financial loss, but the request was rejected,” it says.

Water nearly closed off

Fogo Island Mayor Andrew Shea informed CBC/Radio-Canada the town thought of closing off the hotel’s water supply because of the unpaid tax bill but ultimately determined against it.

“It was in operation, but we didn’t do it,” said Shea on Friday before declining further comment.” 

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