City hall is hoping to stop industrial land owners who try to skip out on municipal taxes by grazing livestock on their properties.
At this month's Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference, the City of Chilliwack hopes to get support for a resolution to kill a tax loophole that saw a local property receive a 98 per cent reduction in taxes after its owner put llamas and alpacas on the industrial land.
In a story first reported by the Times in October 2012, the owner of the vacant land on the Progress Way industrial park- Trackside Holdings owned by Stan Rogers-paid more than $150,000 in taxes in 2011 when it was classified as industrial by BC Assessment.
Trackside then put animals on the property for a month over the time when the provincial assessment authority came looking in 2012. The subsequent farm status assessment of the property led to a tax bill of roughly $3,000, or about two per cent of what it should have been, according to city council.
"What it comes down to is that assessment should follow zoning," Coun. Jason Lum told the Times. "We think it's a loophole that needs to be closed to the benefit of taxpayers."
Lum said the current system used by BC Assessment undermines the authority of municipal governments to zone land and tax accordingly.
Lum said the city submitted a resolution to UBCM regarding the issue but it got "lost in the shuffle." He said, however, that the city plans to amend another of its resolutions at the UBCM convention, which runs Sept. 16 to 20 in Vancouver, that also deals with assessments.
Any resolution at the UBCM would hold no intrinsic weight, but would be a message to the provincial government to change how BC Assessment operates.
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