Those who pay property tax will have noticed an item named “Tulameen Recreation”. This was one of several taxation issues on the agenda at the last Coalmont Community Association meeting.
Brad Hope, our regional representative, was going to inquire about getting it removed and report back to us. No one appeared to know what this tax was for, and removing it seemed appropriate in an environment where Coalmont, like other small Area ‘H’ communities, is trying to maintain its identity. Unfortunately Bylaws are very difficult to remove and it turns out that what Coalmontians agreed to in 1999 is here to stay. In fact, that tax will double this year.
Do you know what it is for? Let’s have a look.
A bylaw to establish and operate the local service for pleasure, recreation and other community use, including art galleries, museums, historic sites, arenas, theatres, sports complexes and other public buildings or facilities for exhibition in a portion of Electoral Area “H” of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
The mill rate for this tax was .0685 and the average assessment in this area is $235,000. Such a property would have paid $16 last year but would now pay $32. This can easily go up again, and no doubt will, but there are limits set in the Bylaw.
(it) shall not exceed the greater of $10,000 or twenty-two cents per thousand dollars of net taxable value of land and improvements in the Tulameen Recreation Service Area.
This service area is defined on a map. It starts with Bert’s field and goes up along the Tulameen river and through the Tulameen townsite to the far end, but not the sides, of Fremd lake. From Tulameen, the area also extends west for 6 kilometers along the river, including a large section north of that. A quick check confirms that the area is in fact defined by the same borders as the Tulameen fire district.
There are some curious aspects to this arrangement. The other side of the river at Coalmont is excluded. In fact there are a number of Coalmontians who avoid this tax. Also note that the historical Granite Creek townsite is not in the area. That is particularly interesting since this Bylaw was enacted at a time when the BC Government was discussing a tourist oriented development there. Our regional district would have known that.
The increase this year is to pay a small salary for someone to look after their arena and clean up the beach at Tulameen after the tourists have been there. Of course, being in the relevant service area, Coalmont can apply for some of this money too. However, the problem with that is it will make our taxes go up yet again. §