Letter to Gary Lunn MP - Rankin - April 6, 2009

Letter to Gary Lunn MP - Rankin - April 6, 2009

Posted in:

T. Murray Rankin QC
#514-737 Yates Street
Victoria BC
V8W 1L6
T: 250.885.0404 F. 866.895.2137 mrankin@heenan.ca

April 6, 2009

Hon. Gary Lunn, MP
Saanich and the Islands
House of Commons
Ottawa K1A 0A6

Dear Minister

Re: Saturna Island: Payments in Lieu of Taxes by Parks Canada

I am writing in my capacity as board member of the Saturna Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA). In the past you have corresponded with our current president, Ms.Washington-Smyth, on the issue of Payments in lieu of Taxes (PILT) with respect to the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve lands located on Saturna Island. We refer you to your letter of October 24, 2008 (in which you replied to our letter of September 2, 2008), asking us to keep your office apprised if we felt we were not receiving fair compensation under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act, RSC 1985, c . M-13. Although we have asked John Savage to bring this to your attention at your meeting today, the purpose of this letter is to update you on what the community of Saturna considers a serious development issue. We have also kept your provincial counterpart, Hon. Murray Coell, MLA aware of our concerns.

The short version is that recently the federal government was billed by the Province $208,000 for PILTs in relation to the federal parklands on Saturna Island for the last fiscal year. However, what we now understand is that the federal government only paid $34,000. Over the approximately 5 year period with which we are concerned, that would mean that there is something in the area of $1 million that the federal government has not been paying in PILTs for this Island. Since so much of Saturna’s land base is now in federal parks, you will understand that there is no ready alternative available to us to achieve comparable tax revenue. It also means that the residents of Saturna Island are paying a disproportionate share for the National Park Reserve on Saturna. We think this is unfair.

The point of this letter is to ask you what your government intends to do about this situation. I have attached background information for your review.

We will be asking the Province to appeal this result or, failing that, the Capital Regional District. As you may be aware, there is a helpful line of Federal Court authorities involving the Montréal Port Authority and the Trudeau Airport in relation to foregone revenue from PILTs.

SIPOA’s Annual General Meeting takes place on May 17, 2009. We would be very grateful if we had some indication of your response in advance of this meeting.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require elaboration. We look for to hearing from you.

Yours very truly

Murray Rankin