Council Defers Decision on Oceanfront Tax Exemptions

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: September 26, 2017

Why didn’t the council tie the Oceanfront tax exemptions to the downtown tax exemptions conclusively ? It’s a key question that council avoided–at least for now.

Council voted to defer the discussion on the tax exemptions and asked staff to bring back options on what the council could do on the subject of tax exemptions for the Oceanfront. 

The developer says the district would be acting in “bad faith and contrary to the spirit of the lengthy negotiation process” if it went ahead and repealed the taxes. Staff is in favour of granting the tax exemptions, as they fear repealing the exemptions would bring legal action from the developer. 

The Oceanfront lands are being developed by Matthew Southwest and Bethel Lands Development, which is owned by local developer Michael Hutchison. 

CAO Linda Glenday told the council the estimates for a commercial and an industrial build on SODC land is $24 million and the foregone tax revenue would be close to $700,000, which will reduce as time goes by. 

Coun. Susan Chapelle said she doesn’t favour granting exemptions. “We collect taxes to afford our future infrastructure, and if we don’t have that, our future infrastructure becomes deficit and it becomes liability. Having RTE in one zone puts other zones at a disadvantages and I’m not supportive of that,” she said.

Mayor Heintzman asked staff to bring back more options. “I appreciate the fact that this is the beginning of the project and we need to get this some opportunity to get going. I would like to see some options on how we can amend the RTE,” she said.

 

Comments

  1. David Lassmann says:

    This story is so bizarre that I wonder whether Gagandeep has gotten the facts wrong. The act of a government giving preferential benefits is a form of corruption unless the recipient is a not-for-profit organization. For example, historically churches have enjoyed tax expempt status.
    In our case our local government is party to the project so there is a conflict of interest as well. I have held the opinion from the outset that the District of Squamish should have steered clear of this undertaking. The Nexen properties should either have been used as parklands or a wildlife conservation area (my choice), or should have been put into the hands of a third party to sell on a commission basis. Better yet would have been to refuse to take the property in the first place and let the BC Government (in the guise of BC Rail) take care of its own mess.