Re: "No tax relief without law change for strata hotel owners" Pique, May 10, 2002
I would like to clarify points made regarding the taxation of strata hotels in Whistler. Since the municipality was created in 1975, single owner hotels (i.e. Fairmont, Coast) paid taxes based on Class 6 Business and Other at $19.5295 per $1,000 (2001) and strata titled hotels paid $6.0565 per $1,000 (2001).
In 1994, after years of debate, most of the strata titled hotels were also classified as Business and Other, which led to an immediate and substantial windfall to the municipality and the other agencies that they collected for. The windfall was in the order of $750,000, which was over and above the budget requirements and expectations of those collecting taxes. This excess collection has been going on ever since.
None of this windfall was ever factored back into the Class 6 rate, which was and is unfair. It was a classic tax grab. A partial solution to this problem would be for the municipality and the other taxation recipients to merely lower the mill rate by the amount of the windfall. This would not be a total solution but would go a long way to rectifying a wrong.
As a final note, the municipality has shown some compassion in this matter by moderating their Class 6 rate slightly but agencies such as School Board 48 have just kept the pedal to the metal. We are hurting the engine that makes us strong.
Radical problem; radical concept
This letter is intended to add food for thought to the transportation issue we are facing here in the Sea To Sky corridor and in particular for Highway 99 on the eve of the 2010 Winter Olympics Bid. This is a proposal that affects a most scenic stretch of British Colombia; one that easily stands out amongst the most beautiful I have ever seen in my personal journeys. I believe that my proposal could make it even more enjoyable and safer. Just a short disclaimer: these are my thoughts and no research into the feasibility of the concept has been undertaken.
The concept starts with the BC Rail line being terminated at Squamish. More precisely, it would end at the Squamish Sea Terminal. From there, the principal cargo, freight, would be off loaded at the docks and then shipped out from there to wherever.
The rail line between Squamish and Horseshoe Bay would then be decommissioned and the rail bed widened where possible and used to accommodate a south-bound corridor for Highway 99. The current highway would then become the north-bound lanes. Highway capacity is increased and no watersheds are disturbed.
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