Tax exemptions to help revitalize the town

The Town of Lake Cowichan’s mayor and council have agreed that revitalization tax exemptions could prove a useful tool in beautifying the town.

  • May. 16, 2011 7:00 p.m.

The Town of Lake Cowichan’s mayor and council have agreed that revitalization tax exemptions could prove a useful tool in beautifying the town.

During the town’s Tuesday, May 10 Sustainable Planning and Development Committee meeting, town planner James van Hemert presented the town’s elected officials with a report on the tax exemption option.

The exemption would serve to freeze taxes, killing financial penalties against people making improvements to their properties.

“A revitalization tax exemption should be part of a broader revitalization project,” van Hemert said, adding that in the most successful examples they were promoted in the community.

“We need to put this in a toolbox rather than a file,” councillor Bob Day said, agreeing with van Hemert’s sentiment.

“We’re not talking about small, little repairs,” van Hemert said. There could be a minimum expenditure on building improvements, and a five-year window within the tax freeze, after which time taxes would go up accordingly.

“I would like to see these rentals fixed up, rather than remain in the state they’re in,” mayor Ross Forrest said. Some rental properties in town are “unacceptable,” he said.

The town’s elected officials motioned for town staff to come up with a site-specific bylaw for consideration.

Tax increase finalized

The Town of Lake Cowichan’s long talked about 5.35 per cent tax increase for 2011 passed, during a special meeting, Tuesday, May 10.

“I still think that the CLEC (Cowichan Lake Education Centre) should be a balanced budget,” councillor Jayne Ingram said. “I voted against it, and that’s the reason why.

The CLEC and Lakeview Park are budgeted to run at a deficit of $47,240, though council recently motioned to have the budget balanced within a span of three years.

The details of the tax increase were written about in great depth in the Gazette’s May 2 issue, on Page 5. It is also available at www.lakecowicahngazette.com, under the “Local News” header “Town council unanimously passes a 5.35 per cent tax increase.”

The town’s five-year financial plan was also passed unanimously.

Other items discussed…

• The King George Affordable Housing Society building on South Shore Road is allowed to have a emergency power generator installed.

Mayor and council unanimously agreed that it is an important item for the seniors’ safety, therefore agreeing to approve of the development permit.

• The town’s Tuesday, June 14 Public Relations Committee meeting will include a rundown of the results of the Neighbourhood of Learning consultation process in town, including recommendations from the public as to what they’d like involved with a new elementary school in town.

• Town planner James van Hemert has a number of proposed revisions for the town’s zoning maps, which he will being to the table during the towns’ Tuesday, June 14 Sustainable Planning and Development Committe meeting.

“It is primarily a bookkeeping issue, but there are some significant changes here,” he said.

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