Prince Rupert curling club says taxes will impact ability to operate

The Prince Rupert Curling Club will have to pay taxes this year, despite a presentation to council requesting complete exemption.

The Prince Rupert Curling Club will have to pay taxes this year, despite a presentation to council by president Jamie Malphus requesting complete exemption.

Under the tax exemption bylaw created by council covering the next three years, the formerly exempt club will need to pay 20 per cent of their municipal taxes as a non-designated property while other recreation facilities, like the racquet club and the golf course, remain exempt.

“Based on the numbers, for 2013 the removal of tax exemption would mean we need to pay $960. With the club on a tight budget and the maintenance required, that $960 would impact our operational ability,” said Malphus, noting the aging rink always needs some work.

“With any facility that is 60 years old, extensive upkeep is required. That is done by volunteers, while the supplies and equipment are purchased by the club with revenue from fees.”

There are currently about 120 members of the club, significantly down from decades past says Malphus. The members pay about $200 to cover the season and, while councillor Gina Garon suggested fees be increased slightly to cover the additional tax, Malphus says he’s not sure the club could do that without further impacting membership numbers.

“The demographics of our club us about 60 per cent are senior citizens, 10 per cent are youth and the rest are the working age people. For the seniors, I’m not sure what their capacity for a fee increase would be,” he said.

When it came time to vote on the tax exemption bylaw council did not acknowledge or discuss the request made earlier in the night, but rather voted to move forward with the 80 per cent exemption for non-designated properties. However, due to an oversight by staff that didn’t reflect the wishes of council from the September 17 meeting, council will have to vote on finally passing the tax exemption at the October 22 meeting.

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