News » Whistler

Tax exemption criteria coming to Pemberton

Councillor Blundell recommends land exchange to settle golf course issue



By Cindy Filipenko

Comprehensive tax exemption criteria are one step closer to being put into place in Pemberton. A document prepared by Village of Pemberton administrator Lori Pilon outlines proposed criteria which would allow for a more efficient decision-making process for mayor and council.

Annually, local non-profits apply to the VOP requesting exemption from paying taxes. Last year three of those not-for-profit organizations’ request — the local chapter of the Canadian Legion, the Lion’s Manor seniors’ housing complex and the Pemberton Valley Golf and Country Club — were tabled in a community-wide referendum as part of the November elections.

In addressing the proposal, Pilon was confident that this will ensure that many leisure and cultural services the community needs would receive fair and equitable treatment when it came to tax relief. She also suggested that once the recommendations were implemented that staff and council compare all applications currently on board against the criteria to determine the feasibility of such requests.

Mayor and council agreed with the recommendations from Pilon. For the criteria to be usable for the 2007 tax year, a bylaw must be put in place before October 31, 2006.

Councillor Mark Blundell voiced two concerns. The first, directly related to the recommendations tabled by Pilon, dealt with the terminology. The third-term council member requested that the term “not-for-profit” be included in the criteria for the sake of explicitness. The ensuing discussion showed that the issue of no-profits was covered within a broader clause in the document.

The other issue Blundell raised pertained to the PVGCC, the only one of the three not-for-profits to lose its bid for tax-exempt status last fall. The councillor suggested that administration deed back the golf course’s “back nine” to the PVGCC to solve the taxation issue being revisited on an annual basis. Currently that land is owned by the village and has long been a source of contention based on a verbal agreement that occurred during the inception of the community amenity.

Blundell’s motion to have staff investigate the possibility of giving the land to the PVGCC passed unanimously.

PVGCC general manager Brian Young was surprised by Blundell’s suggestion. However, the golf course GM was cautiously optimistic.

“We need to find a long-term solution to work together,” he said.

The golf course, established as a community facility, employs upwards of 35 employees on a seasonal basis and offers low green fees to locals and visitors.