Kamloops News

Kamloops waiting for impact study of boundary extension on local First Nations

The New Gold mine property could soon be within Kamloops city limits.

KAMLOOPS - A plan to increase the heavy industry tax base by extending the city limits to include the New Gold mine site has been delayed while the city waits for details on what the economic impact on local First Nations could be from the annexation.

After multiple requests from members of the four heavy industry players, council agreed to look at extending boundaries to include the New Gold mine, effectively adding another player to heavy industry in Kamloops. By adding a fifth company to the big industry bracket the approximately $7 million in taxes would be spread out among more members and reduce the cost to each one. This would give the industry the tax break they are looking for without putting the burden on residential taxpayers.

The idea of boundary extension was raised by Mayor Peter Milobar in 2013 and then in April 2014 council approved the move to annex land from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. Since then work has been done on figuring out a taxation strategy and a compensation agreement with the regional district.

Once financial impacts on First Nations is assessed — and more information is expected this month — the city will look at a compensation agreement similar to the one with the district. Staff will consult with property owners and other stakeholders before a proposal is submitted to the province, expected by early 2015.

After the province gives the nod of approval the city will either hold a referendum or use the alternative approval process (mail in response forms) before it goes back to the province for final approval by the Cabinet. The city and regional district will then implement the transfer and coordination of services as needed.

The city already provides fire service to the mine and many of the mine staff already living in Kamloops and use the medical services in the city as well.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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