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Controversy surrounds Lot T
In an article titled ‘Tyee Club tax exemption ‘distasteful’’ that appeared in Wednesday’s Mirror it may not have been clear how the Tyee Club was awarded the property known as Lot T.
Lot T, located at 3000 Spit Rd., at the Tyee Spit, was given to the Tyee Club after it wrote a letter to council outlining its need for the 2011 season.
Dave Morris, the city’s general manager of facilities and supplies, said the Tyee Club had been using docks located near Lot T while the property was leased by Ted Leroy Trucking.
Sharon Fisher, president of the Tyee Club, said after the lessee went into receivership, the Tyee Club stopped using the wharfs because it needed a Foreshore Lease from the province to be insured.
Fisher said the Tyee Club did get the Foreshore Lease in August 2011 but said “up until then no one was allowed to use the wharf.”
According to Morris after receiving the Tyee Club’s letter it awarded Lot T to the Tyee Club on a short-term lease agreement for $1 per year year, which expires in March 2012.
At that time, council also chose to put the Tyee Club on a list of organizations that could receive a permissive tax exemption.
“Council decided to give the Tyee Club the lot for lease for the 2011 season at minimal cost, and the best way to arrive at minimal cost was to give a permissive tax exemption and a $1 lease fee,” Morris explained.
Fisher said the Tyee Club did not ask for the tax exemption and she didn’t even know it was being suggested.
However, council chose not to award the tax exemption at its regular meeting last week after council received three letters criticizing the move.
Nancy Marshall was one critic, and said a permissive tax exemption would be “distasteful because I believe the Tyee Club has received more than enough from the city.”
Corilair President Mike Farrell, who has property next to Lot T, said he felt there were better uses for Lot T that would benefit the entire community.
Farrell himself had expressed interest in Lot T back in the summer of 2010 when city council was looking for a lessee.
According to Morris, back then, council put out a Request for Expressions of Interest and received two responses – one from Corilair and one from the Tyee Club.
Farrell said his proposal for Lot T “would have generated revenue in the form of leases and taxes for the people of Campbell River, and would have further enhanced Dick Murphy Park.”
However, Morris said Corilair’s proposal was for a land swap, which would not have generated additional revenue or taxes.
According to Morris, after council received the two expressions of interest, it decided to hold off on making a decision on Lot T until it received an updated Tyee Spit Lease Plan, detailing all the properties at the Spit available for lease.
It wasn’t until the following year, when the Tyee Club wrote a letter to council looking for help, that Lot T was given to the Tyee Club.
“We had a history there, and had been there before so in a way, it was a renewal,” Fisher said. “And we needed a place at the Spit to park our boats.”