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
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.