In a press release late Thursday, the two communities say Minister Oakes, Minister for Community Sport and Cultural Development is confusing the public and making incorrect statements about the Fair Share agreement.
In a statement to the Vancouver Sun, Minister Oakes said the province paid northeast municipalities $26 million more than it collected in rural property tax from the industry last year under the deal. Going on to say “The current Fair Share agreement is simply unsustainable and not reflective of the amount of money government is actually receiving from the rural property tax.”
According to Fort St. John and the District of Taylor, the Minister fails to point out that since 2003, the Province has taken over $20 billion in land sales, royalties and other taxes out of Northeast B.C. Communities in this area over that same time received less than half of one per cent of all the revenue collected by the Province.
Mayor Ackerman, in a press release stated, “The Province should be thinking about supporting development of the municipal infrastructure on which it’s Site C and LNG projects are completely dependent. Their actions are counterproductive to the best interests of all parties, industry, local business, our citizens and the Province.”
District of Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser believe the reputation of the Province is in jeopardy. “If they are prepared to tear up our existing MOU, whose agreement is safe? Obviously no ones. The Province is demanding ‘Give us your industrial tax base.”
The two communities say they will be meeting with industry in the future to warn them that the Province is jeopardizing their ability to accommodate their growing workforce and families.