Permissive policy still taxing Parksville city council

City staff has now been asked to come up with some options to treat organizations like the curling club

Like an overthrown rock that won’t stop in the house, the issue over what and how much the Parksville Curling Club should pay in taxes just keeps on sliding.

City council grappled with the issue once again this week, eventually directing staff to review options for creating a new category that may excuse the curling club from paying any city taxes.

Council spent more than 30 minutes Monday night debating what the curling club provides the community and what it should pay, if anything. Coun. Mary Beil introduced a motion to give the club a 100 per cent exemption. Eventually, even Beil voted against her own motion, as council decided to once again look at the bigger picture of the whole policy instead of just one club.

Coun. Sue Powell argued that the curling club operates under “exceptional circumstances” with an “extremely old building” and should be treated through a “different category” in the city’s permissive tax policy.

Coun. Kirk Oates agreed, but warned against developing policies that are too specific to one group.

“I think making policy that’s specific to one organization is dangerous,” said Oates.

Coun. Al Greir was part of the previous council’s committee that developed the permissive tax policy. The policy’s goal is to gradually (over 10 years) reduce what the city forgives in taxes to 1.67 per cent of property tax revenue. Currently, the city forgives just under $200,000 in taxes, or 1.82 per cent of property tax revenue.

On Monday, Greir reminded the current council that this policy was passed unanimously by the previous council. He argued for the status quo.

This year, the curling club successfully lobbied council for a grant that would cover their taxes. In fact, 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.

Organizations that want tax exemptions for 2016 must have applications into the city by the end of June. Policy or not, city council still has the option to give grants or pass a motion moving groups into 50 per cent or 100 per cent exempt status.

Other news from city council’s meeting Monday night:

• Council agreed it would not be possible to support a watersport rental business in the Community Park this summer. Kevin Forsythe of Windsurfing Parksville told city council on

May 4 he has been asked to leave the location he’s had for years, providing paddle boards, kayaks and windsurfing lessons. Forsythe asked council for a spot somewhere in the park to continue his rental business after he said the owners of the boarded-up Parksville Beach Resort told him he must vacate their property just off the boardwalk.

• Council approved a development permit to Taran Williams on behalf of Tigh-Na-Mara Resort for a complete renovation of the exterior façade of the Gabriola building, including resurfacing of 27 decks and replacement of exterior siding, railings and exterior treatments.

• Staff was directed by council to proceed through either city staff or private contractor to undertake clean-up at an unsightly property at 609 Turner Road, at the registered owner’s expense. If expenses are not paid by the end of the current year, those costs will be added to the property tax bill.

Just Posted

ORCA continues push for track upgrade at Ballenas

Running association official plans to meet with MLA on Thursday

Government looks for public input on Cathedral Grove safety concerns

Port Alberni, Parksville info sessions invite public to help ‘shape future access’

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases in B.C.

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Most Read