Gary Lunn MP - response - April 12, 2010

Gary Lunn MP - response - April 12, 2010

Posted in:

Mr. T. Murray      Rankin, QC, Board Member

Saturna Island Property Owners Association     (SIPOA) 514 - 737 Yates Street

Victoria BC V8W 1L6


Dear Mr. Rankin:


RE: PAYMENT IN LIEU OF TAXES - SATURNA ISLAND                                                 .


Thank you for your letter of April 6,     2010 regarding the       level of compensation        provided by the federal government to       the provincial government          for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILTs), specifically      with respect to      the Gulf Island      National     Park properties located         on Satuma Island. As you note, my Executive     Assistant,     Logan Wenham,      attended a

meeting with you      on the same topic on March 31.


As you are aware, the Provincial      government     has requested a    review by the PILT     Dispute Advisory Panel (DAP);        a bipartisan     panel set up for the     resolution     of such issues.


As you note, SIPOA      requested that the     Minister     of Public     Works     and Government Services (PWGSC) investigate          whether the    DAP process      could be     eliminated, and the federal government instead unilaterally           support the     appeal in full.


Failing this,      SIPOA has requested the     process be expedited,     given the     time elapsed since the case first came to     the DAP in the       summer of 2009.      I note your suggestion of an Informal Review as one way that might speed up      this process.


With respect to     the processing time, I      can appreciate     your frustration.       Considerable     time has now passed, and I     note fi'om documents you provided      my office      at the March 31St meeting that the     mandate of DAP members expires in     June, generating additional uncertainty.


Accordingly, I     have again ra1sed this issue with my colleague, the      Mlnister     of Public Works and Government      Services.      I enclose a copy of this     correspondence.       As you will read, I have highlighted to     the Minister the      fact that    Saturna Island has      a considerable amount of parkland closely       situated to    a relatively small population.            Unlike     parkland that may be located in more remote areas, this combination      makes the     determination       of PILT funding particularly important          to planning the     funding of local infrastructure.


I have also requested the Minister to     advise of any measures that    would allow this       review to be expedited at the              DAP, 1ncluding the possible use of an Informal     Review     which you suggest.


Having said this,       I do not believe     removing this     file from a review     at the DAP is appropriate.    As I said 1n my letter     of September      3, 2009 to         SIPOA,     it would be        premature for the Minister to make a decision with this                 review incomplete.


The DAP was set up specifically to      resolve differences     on PILT calculation in        a bipartisan manner. As the previous Minister      of Public     Works noted in          his reply to me of August 17, 2009, this process is critical in ensuring payments to       the Province                of British     Columbia          are made in a fair and equitable manner.      The panel was set up specifically for        such cases,

and it would not be responsible to     circumvent the     process.


I have contacted my provinCIal counterpart,          the Hon. Murray     Coell in this regard, who


agrees that it

and working


is advisable to continue     with the DAP,     which is    a process already 1n place,




You can be assured that I will continue to       make clear to the    Minister that     my priority is      to ensure Saturna Island receives                    fair compensation      under the legislation.         It IS my hope that

my intervention      with the Minister     of Public      Works will allow       a speedier review    of this particular case. I will be 1n contact when I receive         any update,     and I encourage      you to share any documentation        you may receive      on the file going forward.