Looking for some recreational fairness in Prince Rupert

This week, for the first time in quite a while, I made my way to Prince Rupert council on Tuesday night.

This week, for the first time in quite a while, I made my way to Prince Rupert council on Tuesday night.

Anyone that has read my articles in the past will know that I’m a big fan of fairness, making sure that what is good for one group is good for the other. I’ve said it in the past when it came to cuts to the community enhancement grants – the way to do it is a blanket cut so no one group is given favoritism over the other – and this time it has to do with the tax exemptions. In this case the lack of fairness to different groups in the community is so blatant that it just can’t be left without comment.

When Jamie Malphus came before council to request that the curling rink be given complete tax exemption, he was hit with questions from council about applying for grants and whether or not the members would be able to pay a little more to offset the increased tax burden that the club didn’t face before.

And when it came time to vote on the tax exemption bylaw, council didn’t acknowledge his presentation, his presence in the gallery, or really anything he said. It was like he was never there, and that is certainly council’s prerogative. But what council did do in the same lack of breath about the curling club was pass a tax exemption for the Prince Rupert Golf Course and the Racquet Centre.

Now both of these are owned by the City of Prince Rupert, so tax exemption was not necessarily surprising. But when you look at it closer, it raises some serious questions.

All three of the entities in charge of the racquet centre, the golf course and the curling rink – the Prince Rupert Racquet Association, the Prince Rupert Golf Society and the Prince Rupert Curling Club – provide the same function and are largely the same:

– They provide recreation to the residents of Prince Rupert

– They charge a fee for membership

– They are run by volunteers

And yet for the next three years curlers will have to pay about $960 in municipal taxes, which totals $2,880 between 2013 and 2015, while people who enjoy playing racquetball or hitting the links will be paying nothing.

Nada. Zip, zero, zilch.

When it comes to fairness, it is easy to see that targeting one group for municipal taxes while exempting two very similar groups simply does not fit the description.

So before city council passes the tax exemption bylaw at their next meeting, a bylaw that will create an unlevel playing field in the recreation community in town, perhaps they should think about the following questions:

1. How do you justify asking curlers to pay their fair share into the City coffers while not asking golfers or racquetball players to do the same?

2. If the answer to the above is because those two facilities are owned by the City of Prince Rupert, how are you justified in owning those two facilities, but not the curling club building?

~ Shaun Thomas

Just Posted

LETTER: Keep commercial fishery issues in correct context

Response to letter from Prince Rupert-based commercial fish harvester

Heart of Our City: Sean Carlson gives back as a trailblazer

President of the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society helps Rupertites get on trail

MVP of the Week: Giving team a try

Lindsay Gidney has taken his passion for team and sport with him around the world

Former Prince Rupert man wanted on kidnapping and extortion warrants

Terrace RCMP requesting public’s help to find Ira Adam Bryant

This Week Podcast — Episode 85

Learn how you could create your own law. MP Nathan Cullen is this week’s guest on Create Your Canada

175 evacuation orders lifted as floods recede in Grand Forks

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Most Read