Vancouver BC: Tax breaks for developers who put in community gardens

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Temporary Vancouver community garden is set up where a gas station used to be.

… small businesses, struggling to stay alive, get pounded to the point of facing failure, while major developers get significant tax reductions for doing nothing except allowing folks to grow a few carrots or potatoes on their patch of land?

By Allen Garr
Vancouver Courier
Jan 9, 2018

Excerpt:

Wesgroup is a development company owned by a guy named Peeter Wesik. Last year Wesgroup purchased five gas stations, including one in my neighborhood at West Fourth and Macdonald. By October the buildings were demolished and removed, the ground surface was covered with gravel and the property was surrounded with a chain link fence.

Thanks to a deal Wesgroup made with a not-for-profit outfit called Shifting Growth Society, wooden planter boxes filled with soil were placed on the property. In my particular ’hood there were 100 boxes mostly three feet by four feet in size.

Then signs were erected announcing “Your Community Garden Brought to you by Wesgroup.”
All of this was deliberately done before the end of October. Here’s why. That is the point on the calendar when the BC Assessment Authority folks turn up to determine the classification of the property.

In the case of these five properties, they changed from the previous year when they were “business or other,” which put them in Class 6, to this year where they are “recreational,” which is Class 8.

Now here is the point. By shifting the property from Class 6 to Class 8 the property taxes Wesgroup has to pay are cut to about one third of what they would have been — a savings of at least $15,000 on one property.

Read the complete article here.

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