Lantzville denies tax exemption to private school

NANAIMO – Aspengrove School denied tax break by Lantzville council.

Lantzville officials have voted to tax Aspengrove School in what is being called the most extreme position taken by a B.C. municipality.

Lantzville council has denied Aspengrove a tax exemption next year, with opponents arguing the school isn’t in dire straits and residents shouldn’t subsidize a private school.

It’s the second time Lantzville council has called into question a permissive tax exemption for the institution, but the first time it will charge the school in full.

Last year it settled on waiving more than half the land tax. Aspengrove school executives had wanted to see a 100 per cent permissive tax exemption – or about $6,000 taken off their bill – and say they are disappointed by the decision not to give them any break at all.

The decision will see the school pay an estimated $17,000 in property taxes next year,  which will have a “huge impact” on the school’s ability to provide programming to students, says Iain McIver, a director on the Aspengrove school board.

It will also make the school the only institution in B.C. not to receive a tax break, according to the Federation of Independent School Associations B.C.

Since 2012, four municipalities have considered removing permissive tax exemptions for independent schools but two have now granted the requests and another, the City of Victoria, has opted to reduce its exemption by five per cent a year to a maximum of 50 per cent, said the federation’s B.C. executive director Peter Froese, adding Lantzville is “definitely taking the most extreme position of any municipality in British Columbia.”

The federation is lobbying the province to take permissive tax exemptions for independent schools out of the hands of local government but Froese said Lantzville’s decision is worrisome.

“The concern is other municipalities may look at it and say well, OK, if Lantzville can do that, maybe we can as well and this could be the thin edge of the wedge where independent schools are incurring costs where they shouldn’t,” Froese  said.

While municipalities are required to give tax breaks for independent school buildings, it’s their right to decide if they should also exempt the rest of the property like playgrounds and parking lots. The federation and Aspengrove executives argue they provide a value to the community as a not-for-profit educational institution, land holder and employer, and should be exempt from taxes the same as schools in the public system.

But Lantzville Coun. Jennifer Millbank called it a fairness issue.

“If you choose to send your children to private school that is your right as a parent to make that determination, but it’s not something that the other residents should be subsidizing,” she said, pointing out that fundamentally the school is an opportunity only for a few.

Councillors Graham Savage, Andrew Mostad and Mayor Jack de Jong also voted against giving the exemption.

Just Posted

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-staff as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Most Read