The Trafalgar/Pro Patria Legion Branch #292 is facing a $104,000 bill for its property tax (File contributed/ Google Maps)

Last remaining Victoria Legion faces $100,000 property tax bill

The Trafalgar/ Pro Patria Branch can’t afford to operate with such high taxes

The last fully operational Legion in Greater Victoria is facing financial insecurity thanks to a spike in property taxes.

In early June, the Trafalgar/Pro Patria Branch #292 at 411 Gorge Rd. E. received a bill for $104,231.78, a $32,000 jump from the year before.

“It’s just not sustainable, $70,000 was the break for us,” said Angus Stanfield, chairman of the Victoria Remembrance Day Committee and Dominion Vice-President. “We work all year long for the City of Victoria, and on our mind from the beginning to the end is ‘what about the taxes?’”

ALSO READ: Veterans enraged at Victoria suggestion to seek refunds from DND, Veteran’s Affairs for Remembrance Day

The spike comes after the 2019 BC Assessment determined that 35 per cent of the branch’s property value comes form “recreation/not for profit,” equalling over $36,000 in property tax, while 65 per cent comes from “business or other,” totalling more than $67,000, all due on July 2.

A majority of other B.C. Legions municipalities offer a tax relief to the legion branches including in Langley, Sidney and Burnaby which provide full exemptions from the municipal portion of the tax.

In other provinces, including Ontario, taxes are exempt altogether.

ALSO READ: Victoria councillor faces criticism over suggestion to bill military for Remembrance Day

“We’re not a business, we’re a not-for-profit and service organization. As such, it would be $150,000 that we put back into the economy through our poppy fund, gaming fund, and fundraisers,” Stanfield said. “However, now most of the fundraising we do has to go towards taxes.”

Stanfield said that if there isn’t some financial aid the branch will be forced to shut down or possibly move to a neighbouring municipality.

However, the City of Victoria is exploring options to help subsidize some of the costs. In a motion put forward by Couns. Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Marianne Alto, council is seeking to alleviate some of the pressure by providing a temporary grant to make up for the difference. The motion asks for the city to take $36,481.12 from its contingency fund to give to the Pro Patria Legion, and to earmark $40,000 in the city’s 2020 budget for the Legion. This would be followed by a continued annual sum going up by $5,000 per year until 2025, when the funding would be reviewed.

ALSO READ: Victoria Legion goes belly-up due to lack of volunteers

The motion also asks that mayor and council write to the province urging a full exemption of B.C. Legions from property taxes.

Stanfield said that he’s glad to have council’s attention and hopes that something can come together soon.

“I don’t know how we could generate more revenue out of this building than we already are,” Stanfield said. “If the Legion didn’t exist I don’t know how long or if things would be done, right down to the Remembrance Day parade.”

ALSO READ: Future of Esquimalt Legion finally clear

The motion will come forward to the committee of the whole on Thursday, June 27.

It’s coming shortly after councillors received harsh criticism for suggesting that the Department of National Defence and Veteran’s Affairs Canada pay the bill for the city’s Remembrance Day Parade security costs.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Night Shift Halloween tickets on sale now

Royal BC Museum’s adult-only costume event expected to sell out quickly

VicPD called to Beacon Hill Park after body found

Suspicious circumstances not ruled out in apparent sudden death

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

VIDEO: B.C.’s famous cat Grandpa Mason has died

The story of the feral cat that started fostering kittens touched people around the world

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Woman stabbed at least five times in Nelson during random attack

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

Most Read