Opinion

EDITORIAL: Taxing troubles

Parksville city council is now beginning to reap what it sowed when it changed its permissive tax policy.

Despite a long, heated debate that included a citizens’ advisory committee, we’re not convinced council or anyone involved thought this all the way through.

This council’s push in the last year has been all about saving money or finding alternative revenue sources. It’s an important point of focus, to be sure.

But what if those cost-saving ideas turn out to be just the opposite?

Representatives of the Parksville Curling Club were at council Monday night, explaining how they will struggle to come up with the money to pay the tax bill this year. In past years, the curling club’s taxes were forgiven. Now the taxes are only 50 per cent forgiven, meaning they will have to come up with about $16,000 (roughly $9,000 is the city portion).

That’s a big number for any non-profit society. The curling club keeps its fee structure to a level where many of its members, seniors on fixed incomes, can handle the hit.

City council was pretty clear Monday night — despite empty-sounding platitudes from the mayor about helping the club — it wasn’t going to turn the clock back on all the work it did to come up with this rec-groups-pay-50-per-cent formula.

Imagine if the curling club had to cease operations. Now the RDN and the city have an empty, old building in community park to deal with, a facility that’s not suited for much of anything other than its current use. How much will it cost to demolish the building? What about the cost of landscaping or whatever else would replace the structure, and the maintenance of the area going forward?

Which club will be next to parade in front of council in the same pickle? The lawn bowling club? Hmmm, a closed elementary school across the street from a closed lawn bowling facility. Not so nice.

As usual, the regional district sits in the background and lets Parksville take all the heat, despite the fact the RDN owns the building.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people in the region, many of them seniors, are looking at the disappearance of active-lifestyle things they are told are so important to their lives.

— Editorial by John Harding

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