Province won’t review its grants for taxes

B.C. rejects UBCM request to review province's grants-in-lieu of taxes formula

The Ministry of Advanced Education says “essentially thanks but no thanks,” to re-evaluating the way it calculates grants in lieu of taxes.

“He will not review and he will not revise it,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, referring to an Oct. 25 letter from Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson.

Oak Bay and the Union of B.C. Municipalities asked the province to amend the University Act to require that the university grants-in-lieu-of-taxes formula better reflect forgone municipal taxes and that rates paid by universities be in keeping with payment- in-lieu-of-taxes paid by the Government of Canada for Federal properties.

Council continuously uses the example of Esquimalt which received about $12 million this year for the naval base within its borders.

The provincial pot for grants-in-lieu-of-taxes hasn’t increased since its inception.

“It’s one pie and it’s sliced thinner and thinner and thinner,” Jensen said. “It’s not just us, it’s every community that has a university.”

When payments started in 1965, three public universities – University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and UVic – shared the funds; today, 11 public universities split the money contributed to their individual municipalities.

In 2003 Oak Bay got more than $72,000; this year the district received $55,000.

“While the Ministry of Advanced Education provides funding for British Columbia’s public post-secondary institutions, these institutions operate under provincial legislation,” Wilkinson wrote in a letter to Oak Bay. “Under the University Act, responsibility for the management, administration and revenue, business, and affairs of a university rests with its board of governors. Under the act, property vested in a university and held or used by, or on behalf of, a university for university purposes is exempt from taxation. Requesting universities to increase the grants paid to municipalities would place additional financial pressure on the limited resources of the Ministry of Advanced Education, public universities and students.”

They hoped to see the government open a conversation about shifting toward the approach taken by the federal government where the grant is based on assessed value and taken from general revenue.

“That’s how it should be in British Columbia. It should be tied to the value of the land and the cost of services and it should come out of general revenue. That’s the fair way to deal with it,” Jensen said. “What we had hoped for was a discussion. … Our services are covered to about only 20 per cent so  it is a burden to the Oak Bay taxpayer to have the university in its jurisdiction.”

 

Just Posted

Hundreds gather at fundraising kickoff for ‘Kings Park’ purchase

Campaign to raise $2.75 million for the District of Saanich underway

Cloudy skies ahead for Thursday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Poutine With Purpose Pub Crawl supports local charity

Enjoy a pub favourite while helping to feed local kids

Spooky meets retro at the Victoria Vintage Halloween Fair

It’s never to early to start planning your costume

Oak Bay grants 60 days of protection for century-old mansion

J.W. Morris House slated for removal by Abstract Developments

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

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

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read