No tax break for pellet plant

A new industrial activity won’t get a break from the tax man

A new industrial activity won’t get a break from the tax man.

Coldstream council voted unanimously Monday not to extend the Lavington industrial revitalization area to include the new Pinnacle Renewable Energy pellet plant next to Tolko’s mill.

“We have given enough benefit to Tolko by changing the zoning to allow for the pellet plant,” said Coun. Peter McClean.

Had final adoption of the bylaw proceeded and the revitalization boundary area been extended, taxes for the operation would have been reduced by about $30,000 a year.

While the industrial revitalization area was formed to encourage development, some residents told council Monday that the pellet plant should not get tax relief.

“The boundaries of the revitalization area were known to Tolko and Pinnacle before selecting this location,” said Tom Coape-Arnold, who has been a vocal opponent of the pellet plant and is concerned about air quality.

“Why should citizens of Coldstream subsidize this industry? Coldstream should keep the taxes to protect our air.”

Resident Stephanie Hoffman also blasted the prospect of reduced taxes for the pellet plant.

“The community should be compensated because Tolko and Pinnacle are the biggest user in Lavington. Taxes should go to the wear and tear of the roads,” she said.

“With the mud and dust (from operations and trucks), taxes need to go to cleaning that up.”

Pinnacle first applied for a boundary adjustment to the revitalization area in 2013 and council gave three readings to the bylaw Dec. 16, 2013.

“I’m a little disappointed given that previous readings were voted on positively,” said Leroy Reitsma, Pinnacle president, of council’s decision.

“I’m not surprised though as usually these tax programs assist projects to move ahead and we are moving ahead.”

Mayor Jim Garlick says he voted against providing a tax break because of the ongoing conflict with residents over the pellet plant.

“There is no use rubbing salt into a wound. We will put the taxes to good use and try to build some goodwill,” he said.