Mayor set to bring taxation answers home from Vancouver
Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff is heading to the coast for the fourth meeting of the Major Industry Taxation Committee this Friday, and he said this gathering should bring with it some concrete answers to the issue.
“This Friday, we’re going to put forward some of our ideas to members of the UBCM (Union of B.C. Municipalities) and see what they think,” he said.
“Hopefully, when I come back to Castlegar Saturday, I’ll have a better sense of how our recommendations will be received when we go to the UBCM convention in the fall.”
The committee was struck earlier this year to address ongoing issues with major industry taxation in the province, an example of which being Celgar’s refusal to pay its multi-million-dollar tax bill in 2009, filing suit in the B.C. Supreme Court instead, citing, “unfair and unreasonable” taxation.
A handful of other B.C. municipalities faced similar court challenges, while the closures of mills have crippled the economies of more than one town in the province.
The city and Celgar have since reached an agreement and the court case was dropped, but the province-wide issue of what constitutes a “reasonable” tax burden for major industry remains. Some major industry lobbyists have been agitating for a provincially-mandated cap on the amount municipalities can tax major industry in their jurisdiction, while city councils counter that such a cap could have devastating consequences for single-industry towns.
The UBCM convention will begin on Sept. 28 in Whistler.