Having just returned from a visit to Baden-Baden in Southern Germany, I was impressed how well-tended the civic gardens were, at a time when back home, York Council is employing a ‘scorched earth’ policy to our own parks.
The Germans are living the Green Dream too, with great public transport, cycles everywhere, 20mph/30kmh zones on all residential roads, and hardly any traffic in the town centre. I asked where the traffic went. The answer: Underground! There are tunnels beneath the town, built in the 1980s, used daily by 20,000 vehicles.
I wondered how a town, smaller in population than Harrogate, could afford such infrastructure. I’m still not sure, but I didn’t begrudge paying the €3.50 “City Tax” to stay in my hotel, as my tourist contribution to the upkeep of the town, indicated clearly as a simple additional item on my bill.
York really should introduce such a tourist “bed tax” in common with Paris, Rome, Milan, Venice, Pisa, Ghent, Dubrovnik, Vancouver, Lisbon, Kiev, Seattle, Boston, Las Vegas, and recently Barcelona. I could go on. York is missing out on this vital revenue, whilst cutting back on bins, parks, and archeaology and conservation advice. Time to look again at a “bed tax” for visitors which could be used for the good of our city.
Cllr Dave Taylor