Curlers seeking tax break from City of Parksville

Previously exempt,the curling club faces a $3,000 bill this year; plus other council news from Monday night's meeting

Members of the Parksville Curling Club were back before city council Monday night, asking the city to reconsider its decision to make the club pay property taxes.

The club used to be exempt from paying city taxes, but council changed the rules in 2013, giving the curling club a 50 per cent exemption instead of the 100 per cent it enjoyed for the first seven years of operation.

The club’s tax bill, after applying the 50 per cent exemption, was $6,500 in 2014 and is expected to be about $3,000 in 2015 after the assessed value was changed.

Club president Ron Boag said the tax bill will have a detrimental effect on the operations of the club, which is mostly run by volunteers. He also said the club’s membership fees are consistent with those of neighbouring clubs in Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo and raising the fees in Parksville would likely negatively effect membership numbers.

Council deferred discussion on this subject to budget deliberations, which continue for the next couple of months.

• Resident Lori Molchan passionately pleaded with council, asking the city not to put a notice on the title of her Harnish Avenue home. The city puts notices on titles to protect itself from litigation. The notices are generally put on when the city knows there has been work on the property that did not proceed with the proper permit, or was not completed within the time of the permit. The notice can be removed when the work is done under proper permits and inspected when completed.

“Im angry, I’m frustrated, I’m working as fast as I can” Molchan told council, explaining that she only bought the property three months ago. She also alleged she was being harassed by city staff. In the end, council voted to place the notice on Molchan’s property and a property on Ford Avenue.

• A development permit was issued to Parksville Properties Corp. for a strip-mall-type building of 17,700 square feet near the new Save-On-Foods store in the Wembley Mall complex. A development permit was also issued for facade upgrades to the building on the former site of the Parksville X-Ray Clinic on the Island Highway, which is slated to re-open this year with real estate and home-building businesses.

• Council passed motions that will increase water rates two per cent and sewage rates five per cent. For an average homeowner, this means about $7 more a year to the water bill and about $5.50 more a year for the sewer bill.

• With Coun. Sue Patterson opposed, council passed motions that will give city staff teeth to deal with those who do not comply with a sign bylaw passed last year.

• Council passed a motion allowing staff to deal with an unsightly vacant property at 813 Island Highway West. If clean-up of the overgrown lot is not completed in 30 days, city staff now have the authority to do the work, or contract it out, with the owner paying for the work.

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