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Port Tax Scrap heats up with Prince Rupert mayor to request immediate action from Premier and cabinet

There needs to be a little bit more encouragement at the provincial level - Mayor Lee Brain
Mayor Lee Brain addressed Prince Rupert City Council on Oct. 3, stating he will be requesting immediate action from the Premier and cabinet regarding a decision on the Port Tax Cap. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

With the Port Property Tax scrap a hot debate irking the current Prince Rupert City leadership and council, Mayor Lee Brain will be requesting immediate action from the Premier and cabinet to provide funding and restore revenues in response to critical infrastructure renewals.

The city council passed a motion at the regular meeting on Oct. 3 for the mayor to send a letter with specific wording, which will be drafted by city staff.

“There was a recent statement put out by the Ministry of Finance saying that we were compensated for the Port Property Tax Act, which is not necessarily true,” Mayor Lee Brain said. “We receive a stipend, but it does not keep up with depreciation, which means we still have to make up for the tax loss on residents and small businesses.”

“What is clear is we have issues at the Ministry of Finance level, interpreting their own reports,” Brain said.

The mayor explained the reports generated by the ministry on the Port Property Tax Act articulate some of the challenges, as well as some solutions, around how to solve the PPTA.

“It seems that there needs to be a little bit more encouragement at the provincial level. I’m not sure if the rest of the cabinet feels the same as the Ministry of Finance on this issue. So I think what’s appropriate now is we actually have the cabinet come together and make a decision on the port Property Tax Act, specifically.”

Brain said the problem is so complex and given the impact on communities like Prince Rupert, who lose revenue every year, it should not be left to one ministry.

Despite numerous reports and data being provided to the provincial government, Brain is adamant there is “absolutely … no argument remaining for the PPTA to remain in place.”

“So what this would be is requesting that the Premier and cabinet make a decision on that.”

Council members and the public watching also heard the mayor express the letter will outline some of the immediate infrastructure needs, like the 100-year-old water distribution system that, if not immediately fixed, could actualize further long-term consequences for the city.

“We need every tool under our belt to collect as many resources as possible. We need to be able to recharge accordingly with these industries that are here, particularly the ones that are classified marine export industry and a variety of other challenges like that. So, we need to make sure it’s very clear,” the mayor said.

READ MORE: $600 million infrastructure deficit – Prince Rupert needs cash

READ MORE:Prince Rupert citizens group launches petition to scrap the port tax cap

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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