Parksville Curling Club gets a break from city council

The city will actually lose money on its action to give the club a $3,000 grant

The Parksville Curling Club will get a grant to cover its tax bill this year, city councillors decided last week.

The city will lose money on the deal, providing the curling club with a $3,000 grant-in-aid that will cover the club’s total tax bill this year. However, about half of that grant money will go to other taxing authorities like the school district, while the city will get back about $1,500 in tax revenue.

It’s not likely a scenario the city envisioned when it looked to increase revenue by changing the tax exempt status of the curling club from 100 per cent to 50 per cent last year. The club has lobbied the city hard, saying the new policy would jeopardize its operations. The club also challenged its assessed value with the provincial authority, which brought its tax bill down from $16,000 to $6,000.

Coun. Al Greir, a member of the committee that came up with the 50 per cent solution last year, was opposed to the grant when council voted 6-1 in favour of the motion on Thursday night.

“We passed this unanimously last year because we wanted to create some revenues,” said Greir. “They was a strong feeling they (the curling club) should pay their share. I don’t see why they shouldn’t be paying. Three thousand is not a lot of money — that’s less than $10 a member. There are a lot of people in the city who don’t curl and they shouldn’t have to pay for it.”

Councillors Sue Powell and Teresa Patterson pointed to the economic activity created by the curling club when it holds big events like provincial bonspiels.

Mayor Marc Lefebvre suggested this issue will likely return to the council table later this year when the city looks again at tax exemptions.

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