The District of Port Hardy has thrown their support behind an attempt to overturn an assessment for Nav Canada Airport properties which would have a negative financial impact on this community.
At their regular meeting March 10, council dealt with a request for support from District of North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall.
Nav Canada is a non-profit federal corporation under contract to the federal government to provide aircraft safety and guidance services to airports across the country.
Nav Canada owns 136 properties in BC, with a total 2014 assessed value of $76.4 million; generating $1.15 million in tax dollars.
In January of 2001, said Finall in a letter to council, Nav Canada appealed property assessments for four of their control towers in British Columbia, including the one here at the Port Hardy Airport, to the Property Assessment Appeal Board.
The board reduced the assessment on the properties to $20.
The District of North Saanich joined the British Columbia Assessment Authority in an appeal of this assessment to the BC Supreme Court. This appeal was unsuccessful and the matter is now headed to the Court of Appeal.
Not including the upcoming appeal, the District of Saanich has incurred over $100,000 in legal costs. They have applied to the Union of BC Municipalities for financial assistance, but only $10,000 is available through that avenue.
Finall has approached the District of Port Hardy because it is one of 18 municipalities in BC which have Nav Canada properties and will be impacted by the outcome.
According to information provided by Director of Finance Allison McCarrick, if the appeal is unsuccessful, the District of Port Hardy may have to pay back $94,347 in tax revenue to Nav Canada, an average of about $19,000 a year retroactive to 2011.
“We could owe them tax revenue already received,” said McCarrick.
Future tax revenue will also be less.
“The Court of Appeal is going to listen to the case. There are still things that we are hopeful for there,” said Councillor Fred Robertson, adding the decision could also, in the future, potentially impact communities with ferry terminals.
Councillor Jessie Hemphill referred the request for financial aid support to the Finance Committee.