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September 25, 2013
The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) board has given third reading to a parcel tax bylaw to fund the acquisition and development of parks and greenways in the Baynes Sound portion of electoral area ‘A’ and in electoral areas ‘B’ and ‘C’ parks and greenways service at $19 per parcel, beginning in 2014. The board will consider final adoption at its meeting in October.
During the 2013 – 2017 financial planning process, commitments were built upon the June 2012 board resolution to establish a parcel tax and on September 24 of 2013 the board gave three readings to the bylaw that will implement the tax in 2014.
During the development of the rural Comox Valley parks and greenways strategic plan 2011-2030, the public identified a number of priority areas to be acquired for parkland and the types of park amenities to be developed. Over the next 17 years it is estimated that the costs to acquire and develop new parkland in electoral areas ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ will be approximately $14.3 million.
It’s expected that approximately 21 per cent ($2.6 million) of that cost will be collected through development cost charges (DCCs) on new residential and tourism accommodation development.
The remaining 79 per cent ($11.7 million) will need to be collected from existing electoral area residents by means of property taxes and the parcel tax.
There are an estimated 10,500 parcels that will be assessed the parcel tax which will generate $199,500 per year or approximately $3.4 million over the next 17 years.
“Park creation is a vital component of a livable community,” said Edwin Grieve, chair of the CVRD board of directors. “Over time we need the ability to preserve some of our last special places for future generations to enjoy."
Priority areas for parkland acquisition include extension of the One Spot trail, the Courtenay River estuary, the “Puntledge Triangle”, including Browns River and Stotan Falls, the Royston-to- Cumberland trail, E&N railway trail, Trent River corridor, additional parkland near Saratoga Beach, Black Creek to Miracle Beach trail, Williams Beach forest trail, Wolf Lake recreation site, and Rosewall Creek to Waterloo Creek trail. For more information regarding the parks and greenways strategic plan visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/parksplan.
In early 2014, parcel tax assessment notices will be sent to all property owners in the service area to advise them that a parcel tax will apply for that year. A parcel tax roll review panel will be held in late February 2014 to review the roll and hear any complaints. The CVRD will not be collecting the parcel tax directly as it will be included on the rural property tax notice issued by the province in May 2014 and due early July 2014. The province will then forward the parcel taxes collected to the CVRD on August 1.
A frequently asked questions (FAQ) document that provides details of priority projects to be funded by the parcel tax, along with associated costs, can be viewed at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/parceltax.
The Comox Valley Regional District is a federation of three electoral areas and three municipalities providing sustainable services for residents and visitors to the area. The members of the regional district work collaboratively on services for the benefit of the diverse urban and rural areas of the Comox Valley.
Michael Nihls, manager of parks
Comox Valley Regional District