Who is paying a fair share?

If you want to know why Prince Rupert city council is choked about, look no further than our coastal neighbours in Kitimat.

If you want to know why Prince Rupert city council is so choked about the provincially-legislated cap on industries located on port land, look no further than our coastal neighbours to the south in Kitimat.

Residents in the District of Kitimat are paying a municipal tax levy of $5.31 per $1,000 of assessed value and businesses in town are paying a municipal levy of $15.08 per $1,000 of assessed value. In comparison, residents in Prince Rupert are currently paying $8.42 while businesses are paying $27.85.

The District of Kitimat has a state-of-the-art swimming pool complete with a waterslide and spray park and two separate ice arenas while the City of Prince Rupert can’t afford to replace a zamboni and has an aging recreation centre in need of much upgrading.

Kitimat has a free garbage dropoff while residents of Prince Rupert have to pay to go to the dump on Ridley Island.

And Kitimat does all this with a population that is less than that of Prince Rupert.

So what is the difference?

Well, Kitimat’s one major industrial entity is paying a municipal levy of more than $53 per $1,000 of assessed value while Prince Rupert’s major industries are paying, at most, $27.50 per $1,000 simply because of where they were built and what they do. If industries such as RTI, Prince Rupert Grain and Fairview Terminal weren’t on port land doing port business, they would be paying at least $20 more per $1,000 of assessed value.  Imagine the difference that could make to the city’s bottom line…

Instead, because of the provincial government, the burden to pay for services and infrastructure is being placed squarely on the shoulders of those who are least likely to be able to afford it.

The industries mentioned aren’t to blame, they all contribute to the community through sponsorship and being good corporate citizens. The blame for much of Prince Rupert’s financial woes falls squarely on the shoulders of the provincial government.

It’s time the province re-examine this policy to create some taxation equality on the North Coast.