ICF gets a tax break from City of Parksville

It amounts to about $13,000/year in revenue lost to the city; Langford mayor says he feels his city has been 'blackmailed'

Wanting to honour an agreement and fearing the repercussions Langford faced, the City of Parksville gave Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) an exemption on property taxes totalling about $13,000/year.

At its August 15 meeting, city council approved tax exemptions — some 100 per cent, some less — for various churches and service organizations. It stopped short of approval for the ICF, asking for a staff report on the ramifications of denying its exemption.

According to a staff report considered by council at its regular meeting last night (Wednesday), Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Lantzville, Nanaimo and the Regional District of Nanaimo entered into an agreement with the ICF to allow the municipalities to use and occupy lands owned by the ICF, basically the railway corridor. As a condition of that agreement, the municipalities provided property tax exemptions for the ICF. The agreement is for 25 years, starting in 2011, but has to be renewed every 10 years, a requirement of the Community Charter of B.C.

“My vote will be to respect the contract we have,” Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre said this week. “I don’t want to be a bad customer.”

Also part of the staff report before council Wednesday night was a reference to the District of Langford’s decision two years ago to deny the tax exemption — it’s about $50,000 in revenue for that community. “Following that decision,” read the report, “every time the District of Langford wishes to undertake works in the rail corridor they are invoiced $50,000 by the ICF, which coincidentally is the amount of property taxes which are applicable to ICF properties in Langford.”

Langford’s longtime Mayor Stewart Young, a vocal opponent to the structure and operations of the ICF, confirmed what was in the Parksville staff report.

“We did it (took away the ICF’s tax exemption) and they threatened us and started charging fictitious fees,” Young told The NEWS. “They blackmailed me. I’m trying to represent our taxpayers fairly and I don’t like it when the taxpayers get fleeced over a bunch of bulls***.”

Young said he believes it is against the law for a municipality to give tax breaks and exemptions to businesses and he also believes it is wrong to provide breaks and incentives if there is no benefit to taxpayers.

“There would be a benefit if the train was running,” he said, pointing to the pressing need to alleviate well-known traffic congestion in and around Langford, which includes access to some portions of ICF lands.

Rail service on Vancouver Island was suspended due to unsafe track conditions in 2011.

For results of the vote on the ICF’s tax exemption status in Parksville, and other city council news from Wednesday night, keep checking www.pqbnews.com and read Tuesday’s edition of The NEWS.

Just Posted

Part Three: 10 questions with a Qualicum Beach historian

Local guide shares stories of town’s foundations

Andrew Scheer makes campaign stop in Parksville

Federal Conservative leader talks tax cuts, environment

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

Nanaimo ferry an hour and a half behind schedule after medical emergency

Queen of Oak Bay was delayed at Departure Bay this afternoon

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

Island campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

Most Read