TLC denied tax exemption

Council split on decision to allow amendment of tax exemption bylaw

Council turned down a request from the The Land Conservancy BC for a permissible tax exemption for an outstanding balance of about $55,000 at the regular council meeting on Oct. 9.

It was a split decision between council, with Mayor Wendal Milne, Coun. Maja Tait and Coun. Kerrie Reay in favour, and Coun. Rick Kasper, Coun. Herb Haldane and Coun. Kevin Pearson opposed.

Due to a tie, the decision to amend the tax exemption bylaw to include properties within the Sooke Potholes was defeated.

Kasper expressed concerns on how the exemption would effect the budget, which council documents show would have an estimated financial impact of about $24,000 for 2013.

“I just have a concern granting an exemption when we’re owed roughly $54,000… People have to be reminded because we are out there borrowing money in order to pay for everybody else’s bills and that costs all the taxpayers to some degree additional funds,” Kasper said.

“I could support the exception providing that all outstanding taxes are paid, so perhaps if these matters could be dealt with this year and then the organization can come back to us next year,” he added.

Haldane expressed concern over the lack of a business plan, and lack of access of trails and parking for Sooke residents.

“There’s monies outstanding and I can’t support this at this time because of no possibility of a plan to pay back the money that’s owed,” he said.

“I don’t support it because I don’t want the rest of Sooke to subsidize the whole taxation of this property… they’re charging for you to park there, they’re a private organization, they’re a private enterprise.”

Tait supported the exemption, stating the Sooke Potholes is a place where tourists and locals visit alike.

“I view the Potholes as a park, as an amenity that draws visitors into our community — tourist dollars that is.  As well, it’s a place for people to recreate for those that live here,” she said.

To which Coun. Reay agreed.

“I think the TLC provides an exceptional service to the province of British Columbia, ensuring… parks are protected,” she said. “They’re allowed to apply for this tax exemption and even though they’re a society, I support it.”

Wendal expressed concern over the potential loss of the Sooke Potholes as an accessible park.

“If the TLC is forced to sell it then it could end up in private hands and we may not have access to it. Although I’m troubled with the exemption, and the whole sort of issue, I want to try and protect that as it stands for the users and the people around Sooke.”

TLC applied to include three properties within the Sooke Potholes for the Permissive Tax Exemption for Public Parks, and Recreation Grounds, Not for Profit Corporations and Public Authorites Bylaw, 2007.

The not-for-profit purchased the properties in 2005, which measure 55 hectares along the Sooke River.

The organization has been met with financial difficulty over unpaid taxes, even having bank accounts temporarily frozen in August by the Canada Revenue Agency.

TLC is a not-for-profit society that protects important habitat for plants, animals and natural communities as well as properties with historical, cultural, scientific, scenic or compatible recreational value. It owns and manages 300 protected properties across the province, worth $32 million.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read