Sponsors: District of Vanderhoof
NCLGA Executive Recommendation: Endorse
WHEREAS vacant sites or orphan properties known as “brownfields” are prevalent on properties located within communities along the HWY 16 transportation corridor, are eyesores to the community and have caused real or suspected environmental contamination and negatively impact economic development of that specific site and in the general area of that specific site;
AND WHEREAS the owners of these “brownfield” sites have already reaped the benefits there should be a financial cost those who don’t clean up their mess:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Assessment Act Prescribed Classes of Property Regulation be amended to add a separate property class; “Class 10 - Brownfield”, which applies to any vacant or deserted properties that are classified as a brownfield.
Brownfield sites are a significant issue for communities along the HWY 16 corridor. In Vanderhoof we have several sites that remain vacant simply because it is more economical for the owner to pay the annual property taxes than it is to rejuvenate the property. The cost of clean-up is significantly more than any return that can be made through selling the property. This ties up prime commercial real-estate, keeps it from being re-developed, sits vacant and is an eye sore in our core commercial area. We believe that if Council were given the ability to tax these properties at a significantly higher rate than other commercial or industrial properties it would create a financial stimulus to those owners who otherwise have no incentive to clean these sites up. We believe this can be achieved by creating a new property class, “Class 10 – Brownfields” which can be taxed at a higher rate.
The UBCM membership endorsed resolution 2016-B104, which called on the provincial government to create a separate assessment class for brownfield sites.
In response to the resolution, the provincial government indicated that it is not currently considering a separate property class for brownfield sites. The Province pointed out that “the cost of remediation, if required, is often prohibitive and can even exceed the market value of the property,” and expressed reservations about unintended consequences and challenges resulting from taxing brownfields at a higher rate.