Revitalizing the town through tax exemptions

Discussion of revitalization tax exemptions in the Town of Lake Cowichan were discussed during mayor and council’s Tuesday, January 11 meetings.

  • Jan. 17, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Discussion of revitalization tax exemptions in the Town of Lake Cowichan were discussed during mayor and council’s Tuesday, January 11 meetings.

The revitalization tax exemption would serve to freeze property taxes in order to prevent owners from being penalized from making improvements. The hoped-for result is for this to encourage property owners to beautify and improve their buildings, to help in the town’s revitalization.

“There are potentially many benefits to implementing this,” the town’s director of planning James van Hemert said. Placing emphasis on the word potential, van Hemert added that reports from communities that have implemented this tax change thus far have been varied.

Mayor and council encouraged town staff to look into how other communities have benefited from revitalization tax exemptions, as well as look into the specifics that may be included in such an exemption.

It can take many forms, van Hemert said, which will be investigated for an upcoming report to council, for further discussion. Different areas, objectives, time frames, and other variables will be researched.

For now, a generic draft resolution has been drafted, and will be sent to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) for consideration. Since there is currently no legislative provision to allow municipalities to impose separate tax rates, the town’s request being sent out asks that “the province be lobbied to amend Section 197 of the Community Charter to allow municipalities to have the flexibility of levying separate tax rates for each of land and improvements to each property class,” the draft resolution reads.

If approved by the AVICC, it will be passed on to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), which will in turn pass it on to the province for consideration, upon further approval.

It’s too late to act upon revitalization tax exemptions for 2011, van Hemert said, but pending the AVICC and UBCM decisions, 2012 may be a possibility.