Two motions put forth received a majority support at UBCM by Mayor and councillors from all over the province, said Counc. Nicole MacDonald. (Special to The News)

Two motions put forth received a majority support at UBCM by Mayor and councillors from all over the province, said Counc. Nicole MacDonald. (Special to The News)

UBCM passes two Pitt Meadows motions around fair taxation with overwhelming majority

Hopes to continue advocacy for legislative changes

Two motions put forward by the City of Pitt Meadows have been endorsed by a majority at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).

The Pitt Meadows council attended the annual convention held by UBCM, alongside other B.C. municipalities and put forward two resolutions in a meeting with Selina Robinson, the Minister of Finance, said Counc. Nicole MacDonald, during a regular council meeting.

“We discussed our advocacy for fair taxation from rail operations and industrial parks; she did note the complexity with rail taxation and her ministry’s capacity issues, however she urged us to keep fighting and supported our advocacy for fair taxation,” said MacDonald.

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The province passed the first motion for Fair Taxation from Railway Operations, by a vote of 90 per cent in favour to 10 per cent opposed.

“Currently, CP Rail does not pay class 5 Light Industry or class 4 Major Industry taxes on the intermodal track here in Pitt Meadows, or importantly on any of their logistics or rail-yards throughout the province of B.C.,” she said. “So we fought for our UBCM colleagues’ support, and I am proud to say that it was endorsed with an over 90 per cent endorsement rate. So our next step will be continued advocacy for legislative change.”

The second resolution was for Fair Taxation from Industrial Parks, which called for removal of section 5(f) of the Assessment Act which mandates that land or improvements used for transporting of products or used for the storage of products as classified as Class 5 Light Industry, but excludes land or improvements being used as an outlet for the sale of a finished product to a purchaser.

“Local communities feel and bear the burden of the industrial parks but are not adequately and fairly benefiting from increased tax revenue from industrial rates. Pitt Meadows alone, has a massive industrial park, and it is anticipated that when complete, only 15 per cent will pay class 5 light industrial tax,” said MacDonald.

The resolution called to recognize the burden on city services in the provision of road infrastructure and removal of section 5 (f), which would result in Industrial Park operations being more appropriately included within the Class 5 Light Industry classification. This move would create fairer taxation by including industrial park activities within the property class more relative to the nature of the operations, according to the resolution.

“So I am proud to say that UBCM supported this resolution 94.9 per cent. So almost 95 per cent of the communities in B.C. will like to see this legislatively changed.”

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