Castlegar city council voted to move forward with its new Storm Water Management Parcel Tax on Monday night, approving a third reading for the new bylaw.
The parcel tax is $150 per parcel — a parcel being a legally defined lot — for 10 years and will be used to pay for the city’s storm water management service. Council said that the tax is needed if the city is to improve and maintain the city’s storm water management works and systems.
Residents who attended the meeting were upset by council’s decision. Some, like Joy Harper, were upset because their property is divided into multiple lots, which requires them to pay two to three times the amount.
“Back in 1895 where I live was divided into three parcels of 30-foot frontages. I own three parcels, that means $450 for those three parcels,” said Harper. “I think it’s blatantly unfair that I have to pay $450 for three lots when I know other people have 100-foot frontages and it’s one tax.”
The majority of the multiple-parcel properties are located in the north end, and include lots that are 30 feet by 100 feet, a lot size which is no longer legal. The old lots have been grandfathered in, and while property owners can pay to consolidate their parcels —thereby reducing their tax to $150 — the city is warning that since the 30-foot frontages are no longer legal, there would be no going back, and property owners would lose the option to sell individual parcels later. On the other hand, those whose homes straddle all of their lots may wish to consolidate — but it will still cost them to do so.
John Malcolm, CAO for the City of Castlegar, also explained that while the city would like to charge residents per folio — so that those with multiple lots would still only pay $150 — it is prohibited from doing so by provincial law.
Residents further felt it was unfair that a trailer park is only one parcel and that each strata parcel —like a condo or a house at Stellar Place — would have to pay $150.
Many of the concerned residents attending the meeting were seniors living on fixed incomes and were concerned about how they would be able to manage the extra cost.
The bylaw introducing the parcel tax has not yet officially been adopted. Those wishing to share their thoughts with mayor and council can contact them using the forms at castlegar.ca/city_council.php. Those who’d like their letter published in the Castlegar News can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Letter to the Editor” in the subject line.
Those interested in learning more about consolidating their parcels should contact Phil Markin, director of development services, at 250-365-7227.
More upgrades for Millennium Park
Council awarded the contract for Millennium Park Phase 2 to Sorenson Excavating Ltd. who bid $433,788.27 for the project.
Phase 2 of the Millennium Park project calls for an expansion of the parking lot, the creation of two beach volley ball courts, the creation of a mutli-use tennis and pickle ball court, the re-purposing of a tennis court at Zinio Park to a basketball and ball hockey court, and construction of four pickle ball courts at the existing Complex tennis courts.
Council also approved a request from Trowelex Rentals (owned by Councillor Kevin Chernoff, who stepped out for the vote) to create a small paved track for kids to play on with trucks and cars in Millennium Park. Trowelex would supply the labour and materials to make the track.
Council wants Castlegar parks smoke free
Castlegar’s parks could soon be smoke free, as council instructed staff to draft a bylaw to ban smoking from all public parks.
Council honours Snow Busters
Twenty-nine community members were recognized for being Snow Busters — helping their neighbours by clearing snow from their sidewalks and driveways.