No tax break for Neucel

Neucel Specialty Cellulose in Port Alice was denied a tax exemption for the business itself, but was granted one for the golf course.

A report from Port Alice Chief Administrative Officer Ronald Campbell regarding Neucel Specialty Cellulose’s request for tax exemptions was on the Village council’s agenda for their Aug. 10 meeting.

The purpose of the report was to consider the merits to the community of providing tax exemptions for the Port Alice Golf Course, the cemetery, and Neucel itself.

Campbell’s recommendation was that a tax exemption for the Port Alice Golf Club be approved if the following conditions are met: that the Golf Course remains open; remains open to the general public; and that Neucel Specialty Cellulose pays its annual municipal taxes.

Campbell also recommended that the request for tax exemption of the cemetery be denied as “there is no separate assessment portfolio for the cemetery and cemeteries are not subject to municipal property taxation. Denying the tax exemption for the golf course could result in Neucel requiring the Golf Course Society to pay the municipal taxes which in turn could have significant financial impact on the society,” wrote Campbell in his report. “Further, Neucel could donate the lands to the society which would then require the society to pay the municipal taxes which may jeopardize the ongoing financial viability of the society,” he said.

Campbell’s rationale for the recommendation was that “from a tourist and community perspective the Port Alice Golf Club is an asset which helps attract tourists to our community; council may consider it a benefit to the community to do what it can to help support the continued operation of the golf course; other municipalities own their own golf courses and do not apply municipal taxation; and other municipalities do provide tax exemptions to golf courses open to the public.”

The request for a tax exemption for the Port Alice Golf Club was approved unanimously. “We want to make sure the golf course stays open and I think this is a small gesture on our behalf,” said Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen.

As for Neucel’s request for a tax exemption, council said that a letter will be sent to Neucel’s Vice President of Human Resources Warren Beatty stating the request was received and that no further action will be taken.