City of Duncan opts to leave quid pro quo tax waive as-is

The City of Duncan will allow a permissive tax exemption of $13,500 in 2017 for the Island Corridor Foundation.

The City of Duncan waives taxes for the Island Corridor Foundation, and the Foundation waives lease payments for the city.

The City of Duncan waives taxes for the Island Corridor Foundation, and the Foundation waives lease payments for the city.

The City of Duncan will allow a permissive tax exemption of $13,500 in 2017 for the Island Corridor Foundation.

The ICF, a non-profit organization working toward resurrecting rail service on Vancouver Island, has been given a permissive tax exemption for four properties it owns in Duncan since 2008.

The properties all encompass the area on and around Charles Hoey Park, from Trunk Road to the city’s boundary.

Two of the properties are leased to the city and include a portion of the parking lots on Canada Avenue and Charles Hoey Park, as well as the Train Station which the city sublets to the Cowichan Historical Society for its museum.

For 2017, the tax exemption provides a total benefit of $13,448, of which $7,469 is for municipal taxation and $5,979 represents taxation for other authorities, such as school tax.

In a report to council, finance director Talitha Soldera said “certain events and transactions” need to occur in order for the ICF to continue as a going concern, and “it’s likely” the ICF may have difficulty paying any property taxes which may be imposed by the city.

She said that, currently, the city makes no lease payments for the use of the park and train station properties owned by ICF.

However, Soldera said as the lease has been expired for several years, there is a risk that the ICF could begin charging lease payments to recover any new property taxes imposed by the city in 2017.

“Providing a permissive tax exemption to the ICF for 2017 has no impact on municipal revenue as property taxes have not been collected on these properties for many years,” she said.

“The imposition of property taxes could potentially result in increased costs to the city of at least $5,979 to cover the taxes collected on behalf of other governments.”

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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