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Tyee Club tax exemption 'distasteful'

The Tyee Club will not be exempt from property taxes on land it was given by city for far less than its value.

“The Tyee Club asked for a permissive tax exemption for their property taxes on their recently acquired lot at Tyee Spit,” wrote Nancy Marshall of Friday Fish Company, in a letter to council. “I find this distasteful because I believe the Tyee Club has received more than enough from the city.”

The Tyee Club became the recipient of property, known as Lot T, at 3000 Spit Road between Silver King Lodge and Corilair, in the summer of 2010 after the city sent out a request for expressions of interest.

Dave Morris, the city’s manager of facilities and supplies, said council made the decision to lease the property to the Tyee Club, one of the respondents, for a one-year period for just $1. The previous lessee paid a $13,400 lease fee and $3,000 in municipal taxes based on commercial use.

“Traditionally the Tyee Club kept boats off that site along the foreshore because it had a previous agreement with the former lessee, Ted Leroy Trucking, which went into receivership,” Morris said.

He said the Tyee Club needed Lot T in order to acquire a Foreshore Lease for the use of the surrounding water.

Mike Farrell, president of Corilair, said the land could of been put to better use.

“I think it pertinent to review what the Tyee Club is currently being ‘gifted’ or ‘granted’  and whether these benefits are truly for the good of, and accessible by, all the citizens of Campbell River and area,” said Farrell in a letter to council. Farrell said he supports the Tyee Club but not its request for a tax exemption.

“As one who put in a proposal for Lot T, which would have generated revenue in the form of leases and taxes for the people of Campbell River, and would have added further enhanced Dick Murphy Park, I find my curiosity provoked,” Farrell said.

Brenda Matas, who also wrote to  council, said visiting aircraft used to use the docks off Lot T, but are now no longer available with the Tyee Club there.

“By granting the Tyee Club the lease on the only docks that were available for itinerant aircraft, the City of Campbell River has shut out tourism for small plane operators,” Matas wrote.

Morris said the Tyee Club did mention in its expression of interest for Lot T, that it had a long-term view of accommodating visiting aircraft.

However, Morris said the Tyee Club does not have a long-term lease agreement – the lease is up in March 2012.

“What happens long-term, we don’t know because we never got into a long-term agreement,” Morris said. “I expect the Tyee Club would be interested in maintaining its presence there but that request would be subject to council’s approval.”

Morris said council is also still waiting for an updated Tyee Spit Lease Area plan which details all the sites available for lease.

Matas said in the meantime the city is losing out on potential revenue.  She said the BC Floatplane Association, with a membership of over 300, was looking for a place to hold its annual weekend meeting in July.

“Typically there are 100 planes that attend and I am familiar with their positive economic impact on host communities,” Matas said. “Since there is no longer a place for aircraft to dock, Campbell River had to be ruled out as a possibility.”

Coun. Andy Adams made a motion at last Tuesday’s council meeting to remove the Tyee Club from the list of non-profits that will receive a permissive tax exemption. All councillors voted in favour of the motion with the exception of Coun. Roy Grant who declared a conflict of interest and removed himself from the table.

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