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What services, ask McIvor residents who want out

McIvor Lake Road residents want out of the city.

The rural neighbours say they are fed up paying city taxes and not receiving any services in return.

“The residents of McIvor Lake Road find it quite unacceptable that our properties are considered within the city limits while we receive no to minimal services as one would expect to receive living in an urban area,” the residents wrote to city council. “Considering that we are being taxed as if we live in city limits, not having services such as water, septic, gas, high speed Internet, cable and garbage collection are quite disheartening. Not having a proper drivable road makes the whole situation just unbearable.”

Dr. Aref Tabarsi, who lives on McIvor Lake Road, has championed annexation from the city for months. He appeared as a delegation at a Strathcona Regional District board meeting in March, where he expressed his desire to join the regional district.

Brenda Leigh, director for Area D, said if the McIvor area was to be annexed from the city, the residents would likely fall into her area, which is south of the city limits. But an exclusion from Campbell River would be up to the city, which would have to make a request to the province to reduce the municipality.

McIvor Lake Road residents are pushing the city to pull the trigger.

Nine homeowners in the small neighbourhood have signed a petition asking to be excluded from the city. That petition was presented to the city and was in front of council at its meeting Tuesday night after the Mirror went to press.

Tabarsi said in March that he’d “had it” with the city and was trying to come out from under its jurisdiction.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I feel like I’m being held hostage. I want to get out of the City of Campbell River.”

Tabarsi paid $1,400 in city taxes, but didn’t receive basic city services.

“Why am I paying taxes as if I live in Willow Point or downtown?” Tabarsi asked. “I don’t have anything, but I pay taxes at the city’s mill rate.”

Laura Ciarniello, the city’s finance manager, explained at the time that all city residents are charged a flat rate no matter where they live and that rate is applied to the value of a home, which is determined by the BC Assessment Authority.

Ciarniello pointed out that McIvor Lake Road residents do not pay for sewer, water, garbage pick-up or any other city services they’re not receiving.

Instead, their taxes go towards things all city residents benefit from and pay for such as public transit, street lights, roads, and recreational facilities.

But Tabarsi said the dirt road to his home and his neighbours’ is in poor condition and is typically neglected by the city.

“For the entire six months of a year I’m driving on a public road that’s only been graded once. It’s unbearable,” he said. “Collecting our taxes and giving us minimal to no services, including a basic drivable road, is illegal, unethical and immoral.”

The road, which is three kilometres long, is paved for the first 500 metres into McIvor Lake and then gravel the rest of the way. The road is used by local residents, BC Hydro and the Campbell River Ski Club. Tabarsi said in the winter there are so many potholes that he’s often driving on the wrong side of the road and in the summer, dust is constantly being kicked up.

The neglect of the road was the last straw.

“McIvor Lake Road...is usually in extremely poor driving condition to the extent that it cannot be tolerated any longer by the residents. The road is basically unsafe for driving due to extreme maneuvering needed to avoid numerous potholes, ruts, mud and branches,” the residents wrote. “Although we do understand the city’s economical difficulties, we do however believe that there is a minimum responsibility that should be fulfilled by any city such as Campbell River and this residential road access is one of them."

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