Powell says Health Act loophole is costing municipalities thousands of tax dollars

Sue Powell is hoping the province might listen to her concerns

Sue Powell ... hoping the  province might listen

Sue Powell ... hoping the province might listen

8,000 a year in tax dollars, Parksville city councillor Sue Powell wants to show other municipalities how much money they could be losing in a health act loophole.

On Monday, Powell issued a notice of motion — of a recommendation she wants council to vote on — to force municipalities to allow tax exemptions to private health facilities operating on public land.

In Parksville, the Stanford Place seniors facility is owned and operated by a private company. It is, however, on land owned by the public health authority — the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA).

Last year, the city was forced to exempt the facility from its commercial taxes.

This exemption, Powell said, is allowed in a B.C. Health Act loophole — one that won’t be reviewed again until 2016.

“I’m forcing this issue,” she said, “an issue that won’t be changed until 2016.”

Powell is angry over the loss of tax dollars from a private business and wants the city, followed by the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and the Union of B.C. Municipalities to address it now.

“I’m hoping, then, that the provincial government might listen.”

The loophole means for the city, a loss of approximately $88,000 per year in potential tax revenue.