Tax talk back on in North Cowichan
The big tax divide could be whittled down to no divide at all by the evening of May 2 if North Cowichan council agrees to raise residential taxes by more than $275 this year.
Mayor Jon Lefebure thinks it's necessary to shift the district's reliance on the Crofton pulp and paper mill over to the homeowner right away. It’s a move he calls a “critical moment” for North Cowichan.
“We talk for over ten years about our heavy reliance on Catalyst and ten years ago their situation was not good, they’re in a hugely competitive worldwide market, there are pulp mills failing all over the world.”
Although the idea of a tax shift from heavy industry to residential is nothing new, many believe it is now an urgent matter with the district’s single biggest taxpayer in financial trouble. Catalyst Paper’s Crofton Pulp and Paper Mill is still under creditor protection and under deadline to come up with a restructuring plan to deal with its over $800 million in debt.
Lefebure said it is possible council will revisit the idea of a partial tax shift this year that would charge residents $137.50 more in 2012 with another $137.50 in 2013, but regardless of the amount or the timing, he said most seem to agree that the tax shift from heavy industry to residential is long overdue.
“Making a tax shift of that degree is not something any of us on council are happy about doing, but we see it as the responsible thing.”
According to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, North Cowichan has one of the lowest residential tax rates in the province and one of the highest heavy industry rates. The council meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and is expected to draw a crowd of people demonstrating against the $275 tax shift.
Most Viewed Stories
Questionable Content? Click here to report it to the webmaster.