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

Three-for-one at Parksville studio for tour

Local artists participating in Central Island Studio Tour May 26-27

Pole dancers bring disco theme for second Errington hall event

Island Talent Pole Fitness show to include national champs on June 2

Qualicum Beach east village plans take shape

Staff moving forward with east village concept

Annual pickleball tournament fills up quickly

Two-day event to take place indoors at Oceanside Place May 24-25

Lighthouse Country bus tour to focus on area’s tourism destinations

Business assocation wants more tourists to come to the area

VIDEO: Sharks’ jaws too sharp for Whalers

First junior B lacrosse team delights local fans with 13-3 win

Man dead after crashing vehicle into hydro pole and tree in Gibsons

Dog also hurt in collision, which happened Wednesday morning

Study recommends jurors receive more financial and psychological support

Federal justice committee calls for 11 policy changes to mitigate juror stress

Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish industry: study

SFU’s department of biological sciences recommends deeper look into shellfish ingesting microbeads

B.C. dad pens letter urging overhaul of youth health laws after son’s fatal overdose

The Infants Act currently states children under 19 years old may consent to medical treatment on own

Singh sides with B.C. in hornet’s nest of pipeline politics for the NDP

Singh had called for a more thorough environmental review process on the proposal

VIDEO: B.C. woman gets up-close view of Royal wedding

Kelly Samra won a trip back to her home country to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say ‘I do’

Construction crane tips over at Nanaimo work site

Incident happened Wednesday morning at Turner Road and Uplands Drive

30 C in B.C., 30 cm of snow expected for eastern Canada

It might be hot in B.C., but the rest of Canada still dealing with cold

Most Read