Email letters to the editor to editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish online and in print.

Email letters to the editor to editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish online and in print.

LETTER: Port McNeill councillor responds to May 12 North Island Rising column

‘council raised residential taxes for no reason and I stand by that statement’

Dear editor,

RE: North Island Rising column published May 12, 2021

As a councillor I have tried to understand the issues facing our community. Port McNeill has been financially hammered the last two years. First we endured an eight month forest industry labor dispute. The labor problems resulted in a tough year for many of our residents. Our business community took a hit too. Some businesses closed, workers were laid off. There was real hardship in Port McNeill. Then came COVID-19. Our tourism industry dropped off almost 100 per cent. More business closures, layoffs, departures for opportunities elsewhere. We have had two harsh years. I see my role as a councillor as one where manage taxpayers money as if it was my own. I intend to continue doing just that.

It is interesting that when a councillor stands up for the regular citizens and business people who have chosen him to represent them, the press calls his actions unruly! It should be noted that the chair did not rule that my comments were out of order. Maybe not popular, but not out of order.

The real question here is why is the town raising taxes on residential and local business customers when there is the right and opportunity to raise taxes elsewhere.

Bill McQuarrie got it partly right when stating that business taxes were unduly low. I was very specific about which taxes were too low. Assuming there is nothing we can cut from the budget, where could we find the $35,000 we will raise from this tax increase on residential and small business taxpayers? In my view, there are at least two sources.

1. Major Industry Industrial, Light Industrial Rural and Managed Forest rural. A significant amount of tax is not being collected from these categories. A call to our CAO may get you a list of which companies are represented in these categories. The issue of the under taxation of industry has been on the table since this council was elected. For one reason or another the inequity has not been addressed. This is not a new issue for council, just a new issue for Bill McQuarrie.

2. Provincial g overnment grant. Due to financial losses caused by COVID-19, the provincial government sent the Town of Port McNeill a check for $888,000 for COVID mitigation. We could use a portion of these funds to hold tax increases to zero for small business and residential property owners. If there was ever a time to help out our residents and our businesses, it is this year, yet property taxes are increased. Not because the funds are needed but because we can! This councillor is opposed to unfair tax increases. I do not apologize and I maintain my belief that this tax increase is not necessary. The “COVID” money is to help defray the loss of revenue and pay for extra expenses due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and to perhaps help our citizens directly.

I made the statement that council raised residential taxes for no reason and I stand by that statement. We have several alternate revenue sources but council decided to put the burden on homeowners and small business. I stand opposed to raising taxes on residential and small business while leaving money on the table from major corporations, managed forest lands and big business. I commend Bill McQuarrie for actually commenting on the substance of the debate even if he did not get all the facts. Great to see you there, Bill! As a councillor, I expect to be held to account for truth and fairness. Politicians, like reporters, need to stick to the facts so I will ignore the rest of the tripe printed in the North Island Rising opion piece on May 12,2021.

Ryan Mitchell,

Port McNeill councillor


Have a story tip? Email: editor@northislandgazette.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City CouncilLetter to the Editor

Just Posted

Ma Murrays 2021 virtual ceremony screenshot
North Island Gazette wins big at 2021 Ma Murray Newspaper Awards

Zoe Ducklow and Bill McQuarrie both won gold at the online ceremony

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

The cannabis dispensary store, located at 1024 Clark Drive in East Vancouver. (Instagram/Budwayonclark)
Vancouver pot shop owner ordered to pay $40K for copying Subway

Store’s mascot is a red-eyed, cannabis-filled smoking sandwich

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

Most Read