The Canoe Forest Products mill. (File photo)

Salmon Arm gives tax break to Canoe Forest Products plywood plant

Company tax bill to be reduced while residential taxpayers to pick up shortfall

City council has decided to lower taxes for Canoe Forest Products, the only company in the city’s ‘major industry’ class.

The decision came during the Feb. 24 council meeting, when tax talk was a key part of the agenda. One topic was the effect of shifting tax collection away from major industry.

Coun. Kevin Flynn outlined the difference between property classes such as residential and business.

He said what he hears talked about a lot in the business community is the class multiple. He gave the example of a house worth $500,000 and a commercial property worth $500,000. The business would pay 2.8 times more tax in Salmon Arm than a residence would. The residential rate is considered the base rate.

Flynn said the common reasoning is that businesses can write off the tax or businesses use more services so should pay more. He thinks 2.8 is a “defensible” multiplier.

However, the multiplier for the major industry class is the one rate that’s not fair, Flynn said, because major industry pays 18.5 times what residential pays.

He made a motion that $50,000 of taxes from major industry, i.e. Canoe Forest Products, be shifted to residential.

The impact would be an additional $6.50 for a house assessed at $400,000.

It would also mean the 2020 city tax bill for Canoe Forest Products would be $523,000 instead of $573,000.

Read more: Shuswap’s Canoe Forest Products plywood plant to cut costs over Christmas

Read more: 2016 – Council shifts tax structure in favour of Canoe Forest Products

“They have come to us on numerous occasions to say, especially in today’s climate for the forest industry, it’s not fair…,” Flynn said, explaining he doesn’t like to see a significant reliance on one business, especially in today’s forest economy.

He said he grew up in Campbell River and when the mill there shut down, the community took a five-to-10 million dollar tax hit. He emphasized he’s not saying Canoe Forest Products is at risk of shutting down; what he’s saying is the company employs 300-plus people who then have homes in the community. He said the company brings significant value to Salmon Arm and has asked on a number of occasions to have the major industry tax multiplier reduced.

In 2016, council reduced the company’s tax bill by $25,000.

Flynn said he doesn’t want the tax shifted to both residential and business classes, because small business is the life blood of the community. By shifting it only to residential, the largest class, each homeowner pays a small increase.

Mayor Alan Harrison added that the general manager told him the business is willing to pay its fair share, but the share has been higher than fair. Harrison also said it’s not because the business is in difficulty.

After much discussion, all but one member of council present voted in favour of the tax shift. Coun. Tim Lavery opposed the motion, stating he supports the status quo for this year. Coun. Chad Eliason was absent.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon ArmSalmon Arm counciltaxes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Grocery runs keep Salmon Arm delivery service busy

Businesses introduce ways to support customers while limiting contact

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Salmon Arm Silverbacks meet Snakes in BCHL simulated conference final

BCHL turns to video game and players from remaining teams to crown a simulated league playoff winner

Okanagan Spirits donating free sanitizer to those most at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

The Okanagan distillery’s spirits that would have become whisky or gin is now being denatured to make hand sanitizer

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Clearwater RCMP look for missing Alberta man

Wayne Theriault was last believed to have been seen on March 24

Canadian COVID-19 update: Cases spike in Quebec & Ontario; Nine O’Clock Gun salutes health workers

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 12:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

WATCH: Police, fire rally for Vernon hospital workers in COVID-19 fight

Sirens blaring and pots clanging, residents and emergency responders cheer on nurses, doctors

North Okanagan woman helps others apply for EI amid COVID-19

Pandemic has locals retooling skillsets to help others

North Okanagan woman sews masks amid pandemic

Masks offer sense of safety and people need that now, says Becca Hoffmann

COVID-19: No fines to be issued by Vernon bylaw

Officers can provide assistance ‘as may be required for purposes of enforcing public health orders’

Kelowna production company keeps filming through COVID-19 pandemic

DCD Productions uses drones so crew can keep their physical distance

One dead, three others injured following stabbing in Kamloops

Police arrested 43-year-old man at 1 a.m. on Sunday

Most Read